Today we are receiving 22 new students from 17 countries as the 55th class of Sogang GSIS. Let me introduce the name of our proud new students and their majors.
Country of origin
Stephens, Alec Paul
Chirac, Jules Oscar
Dela Cruz, Mark Edward Reyes
Hjelm, Emmy Viola Linnea
Luu, Thi Hai Linh
Phan, Duong Bao Ngoc
Prado Salas, Mariel Reyna
Golanko, Katarzyna Elzbieta
Hamrick, Zachary Jacob
Aramburo Samano, Maria del Rosario
It is a great honor and pleasure to deliver a welcoming speech to the new students.
Given the gravity of covid situation, my speech today will be very brief.
We have different purposes in our lives. I guess you decided to come to our GSIS for different reasons. I respect those differences. However, no matter why you decided to come to Sogang GSIS, I want you to give your 100 percent during your school years at Sogang. No matter what you want to do with your lives after you graduate, no matter what kinds of life you want to live after you graduate, you need to learn how to make good faith efforts and give your 100 percent. Making good faith efforts and giving your 100 percent is what I want you to learn during your school years at Sogang.
Sogang GSIS is a great place. All of us at Sogang GSIS are here to help you to grow and learn, to build upon the wonderful foundation that your parents have given you. We will do our best to make your time at our GSIS as rewarding as possible and enjoyable.
Covid has brought testing times not just to students but also to staff and faculty members alike, but let’s put in our best efforts to make our time here rewarding and enjoyable.
May your time here bring you challenge, growth, excitement, passion, opportunity, and fulfilment.
International Trade: Gavrilenko, Valeriia / 김은희(Kim, Eunhee) / Chepaikina, Aleksandra /
Devaux-Yanganda, Clémence / Ferreira Costa, Carolina / Giménez Arjona, Laia /
Hemrachjiroch, Kanyanat / Le, Huong Tra / Li, Mengqi / Miftari, Shukrije /
International Finance: 한명훈(Han, Myunghoon) / El Yagoubi, Hala / Khati, Priyasha /
Liu, Chengwei / Rhemmali, Khawla / Su, Lijuan / Xu, Xinze
Korea and East Asia Studies: Montalvo Granados, Daniela / Svinsaas, Camilla / Satmaganbetova, Fariza
International Trade : Muth, Marisa
Dear graduating students,
Let me first offer you my heartfelt congratulations on your graduation. I am sure that it has been a rocky ride for past several years since you entered Sogang GSIS. As with many aspects of our social lives, Covid has wreaked havoc on our academia and the way we conduct our curricula and other school activities. But you made it! You made it through these adverse times, and I guess that means a lot. That’s a great accomplishment.
Life is full of surprises. The moment you think you have control over your life, things get out of control. And no matter how hard you try to regain control of your life and try to perfect yourself, it’s not that easy, maybe it’s impossible. I guess that’s life. In life, I guess there is no such thing as perfection. Today you have all the reasons in the world to be proud of yourself. You have accomplished a lot in past years. That’s why you’re here today. So, cherish the moment and be proud of yourself. I offer my sincere congratulations to you. I think you deserve it. But you know, you have to be also very humble about yourself.
You are here today, because you have endured a lot of difficulties in past years. But once you step outside the school boundary, you will be encountering a lot more difficulties, and you will be making a lot of mistakes. When you make mistakes, you’ll have to accept the facts, and learn the lessons, and you have to move on. You have to keep your head high and move on. If you know how to enjoy good times in your life, you certainly have to learn how to deal with adversity and turn negatives into positives.
Once you step outside the school boundary, you may be overwhelmed by brutalities or ruthlessness of the real world. But I don’t want you to compromises too easily. When you have to fight, fight hard.
I make a living by teaching and researching international relations. Maybe for this reason, people around me oftentimes ask me whether I am a realist or liberalist. This question always bewilders me. And it is a question to which I don’t really have a good answer.
But one thing I can say is that I am a big believer in human progress. To that extent I consider myself liberalist. I believe that people can learn from the past mistakes and make a progress. Being able to learn from the mistakes and to progress through education and institutionalization is what separates human beings from the rest of the creatures on this planet.
I don’t think Germans and French would ever fight general wars again because they have learned from past mistakes, because they have adopted good institutions.
My all-time favorite politician is Robert Francis Kennedy, the younger brother of John F Kennedy. He said on numerous occasions before he was assassinated in 1968 after winning the crucial California primary, “some people see the things as they are and say ‘why,’ but I dream things that never were and ask ‘why not.’”
So, keep dreaming, and as Steve Jobs said: Stay hungry and stay foolish.