[Opening of the Institute for Global Engagement and Empowerment & Inauguration of Dr. Ban Ki Moon as Honorary Chair]
On September 25th, 2017, the opening ceremony of Yonsei University’s new Institute for Global Engagement and Empowerment (IGEE) and the inauguration ceremony of Dr. Ban Ki Moon as its Honorary Chairman was held in the Kumho Art Hall. The Institute for Global Engagement and Empowerment was established by uniting under one roof the numerous missionary and voluntary activities scattered around in different colleges and the Yonsei University Health System. Comprised of the Ban Ki Moon Center for Sustainable Development, the Center for Social Engagement, and the Yonsei Institute for Global Health, the Institute is a declaration of Yonsei University’s commitment to engaging in and responding to the challenges the global society faces today.
In his welcoming address, the Yonsei University President Kim Yong Hak articulated the necessity of finding creative, innovative, and integrative solutions to challenges previously unknown and unexplored. In the wake of the global society’s call for multilateral cooperation in carrying out the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), the Institute for Global Engagement and Empowerment, under the supervision of Honorary Chair Dr. Ban and Director Myong-Sei Son, will expand Yonsei’s involvement in achieving sustainable development. By utilizing the university’s rich intellectual resources and research expertise, the institute will be covering all areas of the SDGs, including climate change and official development aid projects, as well as fostering social participation, medical aid, and health care. Yonsei, by combining collaborative education, research, evaluation, and establishing a communication network for sustainable development, will be carrying out its mission as a university founded on the values of social engagement. Furthermore, Dr. Ban’s experience and the connections he built for 8 years as Secretary-General of the United Nations will prove valuable in linking international networks with the resources within Korea to create “synergy and change.”
Beside the Yonsei President and faculty, several public figures attended the event to celebrate the opening of the Institute and Dr. Ban’s inauguration. Dong-yeon Kim, the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Strategy and Finance, congratulated the opening of the Institute and Dr. Ban’s inauguration. He highlighted Dr. Ban’s prestigious career, his important work on climate change and the SDGs, and of the ‘premium’ effect his presence would have on the Institute. Eunkyung Kim, the Minister of Environment, drew parallels between the Korean government’s efforts and the Institute’s vision of sustainable development. The mayor of Seoul, Won-Soon Park, applauded Korea’s increased contributions to providing aid to the global society and its growing presence in the international sphere. At the same time, he also acknowledged that Korea still wasn’t doing enough, and pushed Korea to strengthen its global influence. Mentioning Dr. Ban’s personal experiences with poverty and his work towards lifting the world out of poverty, Michael Reiterer, the EU Ambassador to the Republic of Korea, spoke of the positive influence Dr. Ban would have in establishing world peace and prosperity. Though their respective celebratory remarks focused on slightly different aspects of sustainable development, their common message emphasized the importance of multilateral cooperation and participation of state governments, intellectual communities, education hubs and universities, and civil societies.