Congratulatory Address at the Entrance Ceremony of the University of Seoul
Date: February 28, 2012
Venue: University of Seoul
Hello, everyone! I am Park Won Soon, the mayor of Seoul.
I sincerely congratulate you all and offer you a warm welcome. You cannot imagine how delighted I am to meet you.
My heart and soul go out to you at this wonderful time in your lives. I am so happy to have this opportunity to congratulate you, our youth, and wish you success in the future. Through you, I hope to bless the future of our society.
Sometimes, I’m sure it seems as if the older generation is all of one mind. Yet, with that concerted mind, the decision to cut tuition in half at the University of Seoul was made.
Some raised concerns about this, but I truly believed in the “butterfly effect,” that a small change can lead to tremendous consequences, and a small movement can create dramatic change. The “half-tuition policy” of your prestigious institution has influenced many other universities, and will continue to influence more and more universities. As such, your school is the first down a path of growth. Student-centered administration and transparent finance—achieved to support learning and the welfare of students—will be great assets for you.
And the half-tuition policy is only the beginning. The University of Seoul will provide you with real learning experiences.
You want to build your capabilities? You want to get a decent job? I understand that, but pursuing qualifications only for the sake of landing a job is not the right way. You must not focus on only getting a job. Qualifications and employment are huge traps created by the world. It is a structure from which nobody comes out a winner.
Let’s say all 2,000 people here today compete for 200 jobs. Then, basically, 1,800 people will be losers. Does that mean those 200 people are winners? The person who ranked 200th among all of you, how will that person feel? Now, those lucky 200 will be up for another round of endless competition. Even if all 200 manage to get jobs, they will retire in their early 50s.
However, your generation may well expect to see average life expectancies of up to 120 years. So, after retiring at 50, what will you do for the remaining 70 years of your life?
I am not saying that having a job is bad or studying is useless. However, having a job without a dream and studying only for your own benefit is just not enough. You must foster your creativity, contribute to society, and above all, become a truly productive member of a community who lives together with others. And it is true that the University of Seoul is the best place to learn how to accomplish this.
I think the most important thing for you to keep in mind is your dream. What I want to accomplish as the mayor of Seoul is to bring our younger generation closer to their dreams.
Anyone can become poor, and anyone can become rich. Anyone can become ill, and anyone can recover from illness. In the same way, anyone can have a dream.
I believe that we all have the right to dream. A society where this right is not guaranteed for the members of the community and the youth, in particular, is very dangerous. Without this right, the future is not guaranteed. Without dreams, our youth lose hope, and if they lose hope, our future vanishes.
So, I am here to encourage you to pursue a more prosperous future for yourselves. Also, I would like to be remembered as the one who successfully motivated our youth to achieve their dreams. I want to congratulate you on your accomplishment and thank you as well. I also thank all the parents here for educating your kids so well and guiding them to select the University of Seoul. I really appreciate all of your hard work.
The University of Seoul will do its best to nurture our youth as well as their dreams.