(February 24, 2017)
Dear Distinguished Guests, Faculty Members, Graduating Students, Their Parents, and Ladies and Gentlemen,
It is my great pleasure and honor to announce this afternoon that 54 students will receive MA degree in International Studies at the Graduate School of International Studies at Seoul National University. First of all, on behalf of all the faculty and staff of GSIS, let me first express my sincere congratulations to all the graduating students on successfully completing the courses at GSIS and fulfilled all the requirements to obtain MA degree today. I know you have worked very hard to make this happen. You may have had numerous sleepless nights and intense discussions among fellow students. I am aware that most of you consulted your advisors several times to finish your MA thesis, sometimes with tears and sometimes with joy. Now you deserve to get your degree after all those hard works.
On this occasion, I also would like to express my special thanks to family members who have shown heart-felt support, immeasurable sacrifice, and priceless devotions to make your sons and daughters pass through all those difficulties at GSIS. You should be very proud of your children, your brothers and sisters today.
As a dean of the GSIS, I am also very proud that GSIS could have all of you as proudful members of the school. With your knowledge and practical lessons that you have learned at GSIS, I am sure that you will open and cultivate successful pathways forward. Without doubt, you would perform better than any other persons of your age in any organizations you may work in the future.
On this occasion, as a dean of GSIS, I would like to tell you a few guiding principles that may help you to make your future course more rewarding and enriched. I hope you remember capital letters G-S-I-S as a guiding spirit for your life in the future. 'G' stands for ‘global mind.’ I hope all of you, as graduates of GSIS, continue to develop ‘global minds.’ As you know, a motto of GSIS is ‘think globally and act regionally.’ In our age the world is undoubtedly densely connected. What is happening on the other side of the planet affects our life in one way or another. You can never close your eyes and get away from global happenings. I think the reason why you chose GSIS as a place for your graduate study would have been to deepen your knowledge about global and regional affairs more thoroughly. With the knowledge and insights that you have acquired at GSIS, I hope you continue to watch on global and regional affairs with open but critical minds.
'S' stands for ‘social awareness.’ In the middle of making your way up and forward, you may concentrate on your own career, income, and your personal assets. Still I hope you never forget to develop keen awareness about social surroundings. I dare to say that it is a part of nobles oblige to put yourself in a wider spectrum of the society. Read books and newspapers, watch on TV, browse internet, and catch up with what is going on in the society. Like you did at GSIS, remain critical to existing perspectives and continue to think about creative alternatives with keen sense on social reform and innovative social change. Please do not box yourself up in an individualized and isolated setting.
'I' stands for ‘integrity.’ Please do not forget to have integrity of your own. People of lost integrity can never be respected in a society. You obtained lots of knowledge at school. However, intellect and integrity do not necessarily go together. To live as men and women of integrity, you may sometimes need courage, determination, endurance, and most of all self-discipline. My American friend used to tell me, ‘you do not have to be a giant to stand up.’ I hope you stand up when necessary. I hope you speak up when you need to. Still please do not lose your sense of balance. As graduates of GSIS, I hope you maintain integrity and principle.
'S' stands for ‘sacrifice.’ I would like to emphasize the importance of sacrifice to others and social community. Everybody works hard for their own personal success. However, as leaders and elites of the society, you should sacrifice and dedicate yourself to the community you belong to. Try to embrace others. If you can, extend your arms to people in need or people in a dire and difficult position. Sacrifice will give you more, not less, chances to go further. Sacrifice will give you more, not less, confidence and trust from people. Most of all, sacrifice will give you more, not less, happiness in your life.
As of today, you have become a prideful member of GSIS alumni. I hope you keep the GSIS spirit I have mentioned in mind: global minds, social awareness, integrity, and sacrifice.
As a dean of the GSIS and on behalf of all the faculty and staffs of the GSIS, I wish all the best and good luck for your future career in the years to come. Congratulations again.