On March 28 2012, the Special Lecture speaker was Dr. Jong-yil Ra, a University Distinguished Professor at Hanyang University. Dr. Ra shared with the students of Division of International Studies his life story, and how it made him the strong, successful man he is today. Dr. Jong-yil Ra was born in 1940 and grew up experiencing the effects of the Korean War firsthand. He had a difficult childhood with very little entertainment and proper education. Through this, Dr. Ra was able to find strength and a stronger will to represent the Republic of Korea. As a young man, he participated in multiple political protests and always took an interest in national and global politics. Dr. Ra graduated from Seoul National University he also earned a doctorate degree in international relations from Cambridge University.
He was a former ambassador of the Republic of Korea to the United Kingdom and to Japan, and former head of the Republic of Korea’s National Intelligence Service. His early career was as a Professor of Political Science at Kyunghee University in South Korea. He also served as Senior Advisor to the President on National Security during the administration of President Roh Moo-hyun. His success even after facing many obstacles during his childhood was very inspirational and gave students a message that opportunities are not given to you; you must make them happen yourself. Dr. Ra concluded his lecture a quote by Mark Twain: “A discriminating irreverence is the creator and protector of human liberty.” This left us thinking that we must actively participate in shaping the future we have because it does not matter what gender or age we are or what kind of childhood we had, but how we act. Being judged is inevitable and it could be tough to earn respect, but we should never give up and always try our best.