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InterNational EffortIs Yonsei doing its job in hosting them?
Lee Jun-woo Cub Reporter  |  jun1075@gmail.com
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승인 2006.04.01  00:00:00
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MANY EVENTS pass us by at enormous speed that there is little time to contemplate them. We, as university students, are obligated to woe and yet endeavor to reach a possible solution. University may provide an opportunity to get involved in world events and contemplate their meanings to help us fathom their intricacies. Not only is the willingness of students to engage world issues but it's also necessary to positively affect their environment. This is the global age, an interdependent era, and Yonsei is working to become a contributing global member of the world.

What have we got?

  The Leadership Center and other numerous organizations exist within Yonsei to promote awareness of international concerns. Since 2002, Yonsei has supported the NEAN (North East Asian Network) under the school's in-bound globalization policy. Among other successful events at Yonsei, NEAN is widely known as a leading example of a student-led international event that bridges Yonsei and  North East Asia, and more remotely, the world.

  "The main purpose of NEAN is to exchange information and perspectives on international events and to form a network that is vital for future relations in North East Asia," says Lee Sang-wun (Sr., Dept. of Law, Chairperson of NEAN 2006 Organizing Committee). NEAN hosts  academic workshops and cultural exchanges that enhance the multi-lateral understanding of participants from Korea, Japan, China, Taiwan, and the U.S.
  "No attempts tantamount to those of Yonsei have yet been made by other Korean universities, highlighting Yonseians' openness and global-standard," says Dr. Cho Jin-man, (Senior Research Fellow at Yonsei Leadership Center). Increasing participants from foreign universities clearly demonstrates the success of NEAN in reaching out to other North East Asian universities. The sweat spilled for NEAN are noteworthy and typifies the painstaking agony Yonsei's students suffered to internationalize Yonsei.

▲ NEAN, the most renowned international event hosted by Yonsei
Potentials and Achilles' heel

NEAN is one of the major international events to promote international awareness and fulfills universities' duties as global members, but the school often fails to provide adequate support.

  The major concern has always been, sufficient financial support from Yonsei. NEAN, for instance, received only 10% of its total funds from the school. Most international activities, including NEAN and YDMUN (Yonsei Delegation Model United Nations), struggles to raise sufficient funds each year as they don't have permanent sponsors. "Fund raising procedures may be conducive to students' future careers, but it seems to take precedence over the actual conference; it consumes too much time," says the Director of the Yonsei Leadership Center, Prof. Yang Seung-ham (Dept. of Political Science). According to Prof. Yang, it is not the money, but improvement in quality and content that should be the purpose of the conferences.

  "Some may point out that resources [or school funds] should be allocated fairly and equally, but I believe that it is time for Yonsei to select and concentrate its support on particular events," says Dr. Cho. This may be the case, but the lack of objective measures and standards by which to select the events only makes such suggestions moot. The school's lack of a framework to evaluate and present a solid future solution risks destroying students' past efforts and hard-won reputation.

  Another seemingly trivial yet immediate problem is that schools fail to support or provide adequate space and working-environments for students to. "As far as I know, NEAN had trouble in seeking a place or even a room to host the conference. It was part of the daily routine to move time after time in search of a room," comments Prof. Yang. Valuable and limited time is scattered during the preparation for ridiculous reasons, resulting in a tiresome schedule and ineffective time-management.

  The most serious matter is that Yonsei fails to recognize  the pains of students, or those of student-led organizations. Yonsei's indifference may eventually degrade the fruits of past successes possessing the potential of internationalizing Yonseians.

▲ Prof. Ynag Seung-ham (Dept. of Political Scien, Director of the Yonsei Leadership Center)(Photographed by Kim Young-sung)

"I blieve that is is time for Yonsei to select
and concentrat its suport on particular events."

The Future Laid Upon Us

  Yonsei retains too much flexibility over fund allocation  and various voices of dissention and dissatisfaction might trigger a backlash against the students' efforts to internationalize Yonsei by themselves. Their past effort must not and never should be perverted to futile insignificance. A more structural and functional way must be sought by establishing a school organization that directly supports students in order to alleviate their pains in preparations and the actual events. In short, financial and structural support must be in place as soon as possible to promote the students' eagerness and foster active participation.

  "NEAN itself is already operating brilliantly, having attracted various universities," says Dr. Cho. However, the school should expand its hand to an extent of not only attracting North East Asian universities but also attracting universities around the world. "The school should suggest and promote more school exchange programs to provide students with a greater variety of valuable experiences," says Prof. Yang, "It will not only promote international awareness but also achieve out-bound globalization that will eventually affect the in-bound globalization." The school should realize the magnitude of students' effort is parallel to that of the school's in achieving shared goals.

  Continuous networking and exchange is also essential in bridging the regional communities and increasing global awareness. In-bound and out-bound globalization is the pioneering tool that the school proposed to globalize Yonsei. Yet, there are concerns that the school needs to expose itself to the global environment by sending its students outside Korea, in order to widen and broaden the global perspectives of Yonseians.

For both school and students

  There is no doubt that Yonsei is a pioneer in the field of international events hosted by Korean universities. Progress continues to be a goal of Yonsei. The school must not merely take credit for the current fruits of the students' labor. It is time for the school to awaken and support  future events by taking initiatives and offering more than what students say they want.

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