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Do Not Erect a Wall, Build a Bridge
(Mr. Ban gave a lecture on UN and Global Citizenship at KAIST)
“People are saying that multilateralism is under threat, but I believe that it has helped others keep away from wars. There are currently invisible walls among countries. But do not erect the wall, build the bridge!”
On December 7, KAIST invited one of the most admired people by Korea’s younger generation to give a lecture on UN and Global Citizenship, as the final session of the Global Leaders Lecture Series 2018.
He is the 33th Minister of Foreign Affairs and the 8th Secretary-General of the United Nations, Ban Ki-Moon. Mr. Ban is recognized for making significant contributions to world peace and environmental preservation during his term at the UN.
Mr. Ban first opened his lecture by explaining his great expectations for KAIST students. “KAIST is one of the outstanding universities that fosters the world’s best scientists and for that I have a great expectations for your role in the era of the Fourth Industrial Revolution. In this rapidly changing society, acquiring global citizenship is most important,” he said.
Who are global citizens? According to UNESCO, they are ‘active promoters of more peaceful, tolerant, inclusive, secure and sustainable societies’.
He stated that global leaders lacking global citizenship has resulted in so many disputes among countries and concerns for themselves.
This concept of global citizenship came to him when he studied abroad in the U.S as a young man and met John F. Kennedy. He said, “It touched my heart although I was young. He (John F. Kennedy) told me that the world leaders were not getting along well. During the hype of the Cold War, national boundaries were meaningless. The question was whether I could help others. He then encouraged me, telling me that I could change it because I was young.”
Mr. Ban proposed four required mindsets for global citizenship. The first is to have respect, empathy, and trustworthiness for others. He believes that speaking is the foundation of knowledge, while listening is the foundation of wisdom. Although the concept of philosophy might vary between the East and West, listening to others is very important for gaining respect, empathy, and trustworthiness.
The second is to be future-oriented, particularly for scientists who have the potential to change civilization. He encouraged the audience to look to the future by sharing his story about climate change. “During my term, I received strong advice from scientists that led me to prioritize the issue of climate change. I focused on climate change for better living conditions around the world.” He also added, “This cannot be done by one country. We need to all work together to live harmoniously with nature.”
Third, having a critical mindset is important, especially for scientists because it helps with solving problems by taking a scientific approach, without missing any of the small things. It is essential for scientists to find out new things, particularly in the era of the Fourth Industrial Revolution and informatization; however, they need to keep in mind how their findings will affect us. For instance, they need to question how robotics will change humans’ living patterns, as well as their role and how it links to humanity.
Last but not least, passion, which goes along with compassion, is required for helping others. Ban thinks people without passion are like the walking dead. When pursuing policies, they need to have the passion to drive it. At the same time, they need to have compassion for creating a happier life for everyone.
Mr. Ban ended by saying to the students, “You did not lead the era of informatization, but you are the beneficiaries of it. Acquiring global citizenship, you need to think how you can help even out the growth across the globe through the development of science during this era.”