President Moon Jae-in visited UNIST on February 12 to give his commencement address to South Korea’s future leaders and innovators. His speech focused on how science can better serve mankind and the power students have to change the world for the better.
A total of 957 graduate and undergraduate students received degrees and achieved their educational goals at the 2018 Commencement Ceremony. In his speech, President Moon offered the graduates some encouragement and pledging support so they can become the next leaders of the fourth industrial revolution and of innovative growth.
President Moon is the first sitting Korean president to be invited to deliver the commencement address in UNIST’s 10-year history. Besides, this was also his first commencement speech and his first visit to a university since he was inaugurated last May. President Moon has a special connection to UNIST, as he helped found the institute in 2007, while serving as the chief secretary to the late President Roh Moo-hyun. Besides, his support in turning UNIST into a national research institute in 2015, while serving as the chairman of Democratic Party, was also part of the reason behind this visit.
His visit to UNIST also conveys the message of promoting balanced national development and the fourth industrial revolution. This is because UNIST is an institute in science and technology that leads the regional economy and social development with relevance to the 4th industrial revolution, which is one of South Korea’s major government projects.
President Moon Jae-in shared some inspirational life lessons during his commencement speech at UNIST. He urged the graduates to embrace challenges to achieve triumphs. “I want you to remember and take to heart that failure sometimes can be a more valuable experience than success,” says President Moon. “What discourages us is never the failure itself. If we do not lose hope in the face of failure, it could rather become the energy to further our growth.”
In the address, he also emphasized the role of science, technology, and innovation in a new human-centered society, mentioning the state-of-the-art technologies presented in the opening ceremony of the PyeongChang 2018 Winter Olympics. He mentioned that in the era of the Fourth Industrial Revolution, in which machines interact and learn from each other with little to no human interference, it becomes more and more important that each new generation understands the role of science in our lives.
“All of you here are making the world advance like this. You must not forget that the science you are engaged in is transforming the lives of people around the world, improving society and rewriting the history,” says President Moon.
[Science and Life: From ‘I’ to ‘We’, toward a Community of Co-prosperity]
Congratulations everyone. More than anything else, I wholeheartedly congratulate all the graduates of the Ulsan National Institute of Science and Technology (UNIST) on the commencement of a new stage in your lives.
My gratitude and congratulations also go to the parents of graduates and the UNIST president and faculty members who deserve to be honored today, as well. Likewise, the city of Ulsan and its citizens that have provided unstinting support should be honored at today’s commencement ceremony.
Coming here to UNIST, I feel like I am stepping through the threshold into the future of science. I was told that the nine bridges on the campus will bear the name of future Nobel prize winners from UNIST.
Looking at your eyes ablaze with enthusiasm about science, I believe we will need to add more bridges in the not-too-distant future. The Government is more than willing to shoulder the cost for building such bridges. Are you up to the challenge?
Proud graduates, UNIST was founded on the aspirations of Ulsan citizens and a vision for balanced national development.
About 13 years ago, the citizens of Ulsan rolled up their sleeves in earnest to help establish a national university in the region and formed a committee for building a national university in Ulsan. Until then, Ulsan was the only major metropolitan area in Korea without any national or public university. The founding of a national university in the region was something the local residents had long desired.
It was not easy to establish a new national university, because student quotas for universities across the nation were already over-filled at that time. The Roh Moo-hyun Administration, however, pushed to found UNIST in line with its governing philosophy of balanced national development, backed by the yearning of Ulsan citizens in defiance of much opposition. While I served as the chair of the Democratic Party of Korea, the status of the university was raised to that of Institutes of Science and Technology in the country.
Since then, UNIST has made a splendid leap forward, indeed. The citizens of Ulsan regard UNIST as their most proud achievement after the elevation of Ulsan into one of the major metropolitan areas. I, too, feel greatly rewarded for having joined in providing support for the establishment of UNIST and its growth surge. Your remarkable progress thus far has fully lived up to the expectations of the country and the citizens of Ulsan. I am truly proud of and gratified by your accomplishment.
My beloved graduates. The world is now moving into an era of the Fourth Industrial Revolution with the unprecedented explosion of knowledge in human history. You are now standing before a new era that we still have not fully grasped.
You have been on a voyage of science and technology toward the future along with your 426 prominent professors. The library of UNIST, with its some 130,000 books, 430,000 e-books and 100 terminals for the virtual desktop infrastructure, has served as the reliable sails for the voyage. A transmission electron microscope, one of the only four in the world, Korea’s only ultra-precision nano machine and an imaging mass spectrometer have served as excellent and accurate compasses to navigate. You have studied hard and conducted research in this finest, supportive environment.
However, the course you are about to set sail on will not always be smooth. You will suffer setbacks and frustration as well. I want you to remember and take to heart that failure sometimes can be a more valuable experience than success.
I have also experienced numerous failures myself. I had to run twice as presidential candidate before being elected. What discourages us is never the failure itself. If we do not lose hope in the face of failure, it could rather become the energy to further our growth.
In addition, please never forget the fact that we are not alone. I started my career as an attorney, and an incalculable number of people have given me a helping hand to this day. I have become who I am today, not by my own efforts alone. President Moon Jae-in today is another name for the countless “we,” who have helped me with dedicated support along the way.
The same is true for all of you; what you are today is the combination of your own endeavors and considerable assistance from other people. UNIST and the local community have helped you all grow further. The toil of the many cleaners, janitors, cooks, nutritionists and facility management officials constitutes one integral part of your achievement. If you keep that in your mind and remember the many other people standing together with you, the Republic of Korea would be able to usher in the era of the Fourth Industrial Revolution in the most exemplary manner.
When the going gets tough, please remind yourselves of the cheer and encouragement UNIST has given. When you feel lonely, please recall what I said today. You are not alone. Even if we fail, many of our friends will still be there for you.
Dear class of 2018. I see in you the path of science that cares about people.
In 2011, I met the first UNIST students who started a business venture which made an audiobook for the visually impaired. Today, I have met them again to find that their business had grown a lot; it has now more than one million customers with new ideas on mobile advertisement application and flower delivery services, thereby receiving foreign investments. A UNIST student developed a smart pillow designed to help infants and weary parents stay healthy, and another student is employing the weak in society in his or her pet-item making company.
Many young Koreans from various disciplines are now taking on the challenge of competing in the global arena with the same passion as yours. If you put together all your passions and dreams, the path of people-centered science would become a brand the Republic of Korea can proudly present to the humankind.
Scientific achievements are now closely linked to our everyday life. They have also been applied to the PyeongChang Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games, which are making the hearts of numerous people all around the world pound with excitement.
When I visited the Jincheon National Training Center in December last year, I witnessed the power of science and technology that helps the training of athletes. The force behind the making of the PyeongChang Olympics as an advanced ICT Olympics is also science and technology.
We saw the beauty of brilliant science and technology showcased during the opening ceremony of the PyeongChang Olympics. The digital art created by the LED display devices; the augmented reality version of an ancient Korean astronomical chart, which was originally etched on a tombstone in 1395, and the Dove of Peace performance powered by the fifth generation wireless technology, which was showcased as a pilot project for the first time in the world, were an overwhelming feast of information and communication technologies. When 1,218 drones formed the Olympic rings in the night sky, the audience exclaimed, wondering whether it was just a graphic image or made up of real objects. Our traditional culture and the state-of-the-art science and technology were merged to produce a fantastic opening ceremony, which won global admiration.
All of you here are making the world advance like this. You must not forget that the science you are engaged in is transforming the lives of people around the world, improving society and rewriting the history.
My beloved graduates and members of UNIST. Ulsan is the industrial capital of the Republic of Korea. It is a lifeline that accounts for 20 percent of Korea’s total exports. Talented individuals have been fostered by UNIST here in Ulsan. They are becoming the driving force of Ulsan’s economy being employed, doing research and starting businesses in the region.
The world is your stage. On the other hand, you should also do your part to contribute to the region that has nurtured you. You should not forget that regional development powers the advancement of the Republic of Korea.
UNIST has produced outstanding individuals from Ulsan as future scientists through a special admission program with a designated quota of local students. It has been encouraging young future entrepreneurs in Ulsan as well as its students by motivating them to cooperate and take on challenges as entrepreneurs through its startup camps. I heard that an increasing number of UNIST graduates are settling down, landing a job, doing research or starting a business in Ulsan. It is truly wonderful; I am very grateful.
My Administration will encourage universities specialized in science and technology like UNIST to continue to lead the fostering of talented individuals in the region and industry-academia cooperation in the years to come. We will not spare any support so that talented individuals can guide the industries of the Republic of Korea, without having to leave their region, through partnership among public institutions, universities and businesses in the region.
I hope that UNIST will take the initiative in making Ulsan, the industrial capital, more competitive by applying the technology of the Fourth Industrial Revolution to the manufacturing industry in the city.
Dear graduates, parents and professors. Our precious sons and daughters have studied here at UNIST and have become the hope of the Republic of Korea.
Now, each of them will take a different path. An exciting world awaits them. I am looking forward to all of you taking your own path. I hope that, however, it will be a path not just for you but for everyone. I also hope that your scientific expertise will shine brightly in the lives of the community.
When you often and even more often go hand in hand with your friends, your accomplishment will shine more brightly. By doing so, I hope you will become the future of the Republic of Korea where everyone can prosper together.
Let us all bless our young fellows who are taking on a new journey.
Thank you very much.