President Lee Bae-yong talks about Ewha global week
President Lee Bae-yong talks about Ewha global week
  • 강성혜
  • 승인 2008.10.13 20:27
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The fourth week of October is a special time for Ewha students. Starting with the Wellesley Global Leadership Conference held on October 21, Ewha global week will also include Ewha the 2008 World Women’s Forum (WWF) and the 2008 University Presidents’ Forum (UPF). The Ewha Voice interviewed President Lee Bae-yong, head of the WWF Organization Committee and the host of the 2008 UPF, to hear her thoughts on these events.

 What are your impressions on being the center of both the 2008 WWF and 2008 UPF? 


    I am delighted thatEwhaWomansUniversity will again be the hub of these global events. I believe this honor is living proof of the outstanding power our 122 year-old history holds. Ewha started off with only one student, but has now grown to be the world’s largest institution for educating women. Such a stunning history cannot be found elsewhere. When other presidents start thinking of developing programs to raise future women leaders, they come to the conclusion that Ewha has already been carrying out those programs for most of its history. I believe these are the key reasons that qualify Ewha to take the lead in hosting these global gatherings. I have great faith that Ewha will not stop here, but grow to successfully lead world civilization as a whole. And I believe this year’s global week is a good starting point.




What are the main goals of the 2008 WWF?

     The World Women’s Forum has two main purposes. First, we hope the forum will serve as an ideal place for efficient networking amongst women leaders. Successful women of diverse cultures and fields will have the opportunity to gather and share their opinions on diverse topics. This will help open a new era for women. The women leaders are also from diverse age groups. This will enable not only a horizontal connection, but also a vertical one where the older generation can mentor the new generation.

     The second purpose would is to initiate peace amongst diverse nations. The global influence of many women leaders will create a worldwide consensus regardless of nationality or language. It will also form a mutual understanding and respect among different cultures. Such connections will build trust and encourage people to open up their hearts. Even if two countries have experienced severe conflicts in the past, such problems can be alleviated through reconciliation between the people of each country. I strongly believe that the WWF will begin such reconciliation.




Why was “TheCenter ofChange , Women: Building a Diverse and Sustainable Future,” chosen as the topic of the 2008 WWF?

     At last year’s WWF, renowned futurologist Alvin Toffler predicted that the 21st century will be led by women and that the future will be in great need of their unique flexibility and softness. This year, we took his words into account and came up with a theme through which we will seek ways for women to lead the 21st century desirably and sustainably. A leader must always possess wisdom and responsibility. We hope to define the value and meaning of such virtues by gathering existing intelligence and valuable lessons from the experiences of this year’s WWF.




What moved you to add the “Ewha-Wellesley Global Leadership Conference” this year?

     I had the good fortune of meeting the president ofWellesleyCollege at the inauguration of the new Harvard president last year. I first felt a great connection towardsWellesleyCollege for our former president Appenzeller was aWellesley alumna. When the president of Wellesley and I started talking about university education, we found that we had a lot in common. It was as if we had both met an old friend. We also found similarities in each school’s history, forWellesley has also produced female world leaders such as Hilary Clinton.

     After much discussion, we decided to hold a conference on women leadership together. We agreed to host it once in the and once in. The Ewha Institute for Leadership Development, theEwhaCareerDevelopmentCenter andWellesleyCenters for Women designed the program together, and visited each other’s countries this year to add the finishing touches. Five professors fromWellesley will attend this year’s Ewha-Wellesley Leadership Conference. We believe it will be a great contribution towards society, history and mankind. It will also be a chance for the east and west to blend together.




What are your expectations regarding the 2008 WWF compared to the 2007 WWF?

     I hope that this year, participants will be able to find ways to follow up on the information acquired at the WWF. Last year, the forum concentrated mainly on the exchange of ideas and experiences among the participants. We made predictions about the future and discussed the necessary preparations based on those ideas and experiences. This year, however, we hope to go beyond merely exchanging ideas. We will focus on finding a sustainable system through which more people can put their knowledge to practical use, and further develop and follow up on those ideas.




What are the main goals of the UPF? 

     I believe that university education is the foundation of civilization, and we are at the point of history where the value of civilization and the role of universities must be renewed. The world is changing at a vast pace, and sometimes I am concerned that society only values accomplishments and success. Therefore, I believe that university education should again recover its rightful place as the hub of civilization. Universities must be able to circulate intelligence and pass on knowledge to the next generation. To accomplish this, both professors and students must possess a strong will to pursue academic truth, and to purify society like oxygen. I wish to host a meaningful event where presidents from all over the world can come together to discuss these goals and also the appropriate steps to accomplish them.


Why was Ewha chosen to host the UPF?

     The biggest reason would be that Ewha has come a long way in history. Ewha is one of the oldest educational institutions in the country. I strongly believe we are the source of educational inspiration, and that this qualifies us to take the lead in recruiting and gathering other schools. In this era where women’s leadership is greatly emphasized, Ewha will successfully pass on its experiences and wisdom as a historic women’s university, and also an outstanding global institution.

What makes this year’s UPF special?

     This year, the program includes a discussion between presidents of various universities and students. Groups made up of one president and five to six students will exchange ideas on the theme of “Mobility Towards the Future.” I believe this will be a special opportunity for students to broaden their views of the world. Every president holds his or her own unique vision, but they all share a common purpose which is to use that vision to lead the next generation. Students should have an opportunity to understand that vision, and find their own directions to accomplish it. We hope to let students know that their presidents exist solely for them, and in turn provide the presidents with a chance to hear fresh and creative ideas from potential future leaders.

 What hopes do you have for Ewha students regarding the Ewha global week?

  I hope students will have a chance to understand thoroughly that one must first, as the Korean proverb says, become a “very big bowl” in order to be an active global leader. The world is swimming in information, and when such information comes pouring down, one must have great capacity to acquire it all. I pray that Ewha students will broaden their minds, become more flexible and take in as much as they can at these forums. Another wish is that students will renew their passion and sincerity for learning. I hope that they will develop a positive, joyful yearning towards learning new things and encountering unfamiliar cultures. Above all, I hope that they will learn that a warm heart and generosity are the best virtues in a leader, and learn to use those virtues in later life when they themselves become mature women leaders.




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