Seoul National University students will have the opportunity to work at international organizations such as the United Nations through its global internship program.
The program will be a core part of SNU's globalization project, which the school will pursue ambitiously this year. Under the program, students can also work as interns at international companies such as Intel, Microsoft and Ford.
SNU President Lee Jang-moo unveiled the plans in an interview with The Korea Times.
``To propel the globalization of our school, students should spend time at global companies in the United States and European countries. Above all, I hope they can work at international organizations, including the U.N. and nongovernmental organizations around the world,'' Lee said.
U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, a graduate of the school, recently visited his alma mater to give lectures and spend time with students, he said.
``Many students enjoyed the time with Ban. The new U.N. chief encouraged his juniors to work at international organizations like him,'' Lee said.
Lee also mentioned a recent meeting with the education director of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, Barbara Ischinger.
``When I told her that the new U.N. general-secretary is from our school, she said, `If so, SNU should focus on internship programs to send students there,''' Lee said. ``She is very witty.''
Lee stressed that the programs are not only for Korean students but also for international students at the country's top school.
``SNU has 2,000 foreign students, and more international students are expected to register at our school this year. The program also encourages those foreign students to work at companies in Korea,'' he said.
To run the program successfully, SNU has already invited experts in charge of human resources from many global companies and listened to them.
To extend its globalization vision, SNU will establish a global campus. Lee said that the school is now looking for the ideal location for the new campus.
Lee said the school's English-language lectures are not enough to draw excellent students from around the world, however, the new campus will compensate for the current shortages.
``On the new campus, only foreign languages, mainly English, will be used. Also students will be able to cultivate an international mindset and manners there,'' Lee said.
Lee plans to promote international relationships with many universities around the world, but he will allow academic exchanges only with prominent schools to protect the nation's most prestigious school's reputation.
His passion for globalization doesn't end there. Even the incorporation plan of the school is focused on globalization.
``We agree with the government's policy to incorporate national universities, but it should help maximize our globalization project so that SNU can become a world-class university,'' Lee said. He said the master plan for the direction of incorporation for the school would be completed shortly.
Lee plans to strengthen research ethics to wash away the disgrace caused by the cloning scandal of the school's former professor Hwang Woo-suk last year and to build a sound research environment.
Lee expressed the difficulty of being the president of a national university, as well. ``National universities have little support from the government, so they have difficulty running schools autonomously and making long-term plans gets deterred by the government,'' he said.
Lee stressed, however, that schools need to initiate changes.
``While I will ask the government to respect the autonomy of the school, our school itself needs to lead the change in making university administration more flexible,'' Lee said.
Lee is the 24th president of the school and was appointed on July 20, 2006. He served as dean of the College of Engineering from 1997�2002. After receiving a bachelor of science in mechanical engineering from SNU in 1967 and a doctorate degree in engineering mechanics from Iowa State University in 1975, Lee began to teach as a professor at his home school.
Alongside his academic career, Lee has served as president of the Korean Society of Precision Engineering from 1996 to 1999, chairman of the founding committee for the National Science Museum from 2001 and president of the Korean Society for New and Renewable Energy since 2004.
December 2, 2006
SNU NOW / Newsroom