Political bigwigs, prominent scholars and tycoons visited Seoul National University in droves last year for a chance to lecture in front of its students, the university said Monday.
According to SNU, over 100 university chiefs and 80 high-ranking officials from around the world have asked to speak at the school, widely considered the top university in South Korea.
Myanmar’s democracy icon Aung San Suu Kyi, International Monetary Fund chief Christine Lagarde, Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates and Google chairman Eric Schmidt have all spoken at the state-run university’s podium.
Haruhiko Kuroda, the governor of the Bank of Japan, is scheduled to speak at the university next month and other prominent figures waiting in line include 2001 Nobel laureate biologist Paul Nurse.
Officials said South Korea’s improved status on the global stage, particularly its competence in education, academics and culture, is fueling the popularity of the university among top foreign leaders and scholars.
SNU said it was trying to host as many guests as possible, although it has to be selective because of the overwhelming number of magnates who want to visit Seoul and have the chance to speak at the university, which is known for producing top politicians and business leaders in a nation that puts a high importance on academic performance.
By Yoon Min-sik (firstname.lastname@example.org)