Lee Ji-sun (’97, Early Childhood Education), currently a professor at Handong Global University, visited Ewha to present the sixth Emma Lecture. Commemorating the Ewha anniversary, Lee led the Emma Lecture 2018. Telling her story about the hardships and the process of overcoming the tragedies she has been through, Lee and her lecture “Life is a Gift” touched the hearts of Ewha students along with the many Ewha graduates present in the Education Building.
“It is a big honor to be here at Ewha, especially in front of the juniors of the College of Education, to share my story,” Lee began. “Many people of Ewha, including Professor Kim Emma, have influenced my life greatly, and I am so thankful to the faculty members for having me as a guest speaker for this wonderful lecture.”
The Emma Lecture is a lecture event held every few years to commemorate the teaching philosophy of the founding dean of the College of Education, Kim Emma.
“As I nurtured Ewha with my tears, raise Ewha with laughter,” was her memorable words offered at her retirement ceremony, which express her love and continuing support for Ewha. Her enthusiasm for education led the College of Education to organize further Emma Lectures that still continue today. This year, celebrating Ewha’s 132nd Anniversary Commemoration, a proud graduate, Lee Ji-sun, was invited to talk about the positive influence she gave to those in need and how life is a gift. The vice dean of the College of Education, Oh In-soo, played the host role for the event and a short welcoming speech by the dean, Hong Yong-hee, followed afterwards. The audience applauded with excitement and anticipation towards its meeting with Lee.
According to the College of Education, Lee was invited this year for two reasons: first, her teaching ideals matched those of Kim’s, and second, her new employment at Handong Global University restricted her lecturing at other universities for a year, which led to her delayed visit to Ewha this year.
During the lecture “Life is a Gift,” Lee shared with the audience the story of her struggle when she was severely burned after a car accident and when she was forced to endure painful treatment to restore her health. The audience was astonished by her experience in relation to God and life, understanding Lee’s experience of being presented with a new life and a totally different realization and attitude towards even the most trivial happiness in life after her accident. Moreover, by sharing her story of continuing challenges and never giving up, she has proven how the common phrase “life is a mountain” becomes a vivid reality. She was also grateful for the fact that she was “Made in Ewha,” as expressed by Kim, too, at her retirement ceremony, and that this energized her to become who she is today.
“Several days after the accident, when I first swallowed a sip of water through a straw was when I first felt alive again,” Lee recalled. “Coming to recognize and get used to my ‘reborn’ self and outer appearances, I adopted a new perspective towards the world, and especially towards those who endure prejudice and discrimination.” In finishing her lecture, Lee encouraged everyone in the audience to always have hope and try to live by Kim’s motto that “Life is a Gift.” Kim always believed that teaching should be an act of molding individuals by wisdom and generosity. This teaching ideal of Kim was delivered to the audience, consisting of the faculty of the College of Education as well as its students, encouraging them to teach with the goal of giving help, hope, and laughter to those in danger and need.