As we are already aware, globalization is prevalent in our lives. The world is changing at an extremely rapid pace, affecting the essence of how we learn, interact and work. The work of individuals, teams, business units and companies span gaps in geographic boundaries, markets, cultures and languages.
Organizations have operations around the globe, and the major economies of the world are tightly interconnected. As educators and students, people yearn for learning experiences to equip themselves for a future that is constantly changing. Weaving a global perspective is increasingly a necessity rather than a “nice to have.” Following this trend, HUFS has been giving a priority to international education and, out of all the universities in Asia, is currently the leader of the United Nations-mandated University for Peace (UPEACE) dual degree program.
The President of HUFS, Park Chul visits UPEACE to discuss the implementation of
the Dual Degree MA programmes between UPEACE and HUFS on Thursday, 17 Jan.
The creation of UPEACE was mandated by a resolution of the United Nations (UN) General Assembly. Through this resolution, the UN General Assembly established an international commission which took charge of preparing the organization, structure and establishment of UPEACE, in collaboration with the Government of Costa Rica. Thereafter, the UN General Assembly approved the foundation of UPEACE in 1980 by adopting the International Agreement for the Establishment of UPEACE along with the charter of the University for Peace. UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon is the honorary president of UPEACE. It has master’s degree programs and institutes in more than ten countries around the world as well as a main campus in Costa Rica. This university pursues peace education and the development of human resources on the basis of the UN Charter.
UPEACE, the only institute of peace and conflict studies, offers twelve kinds of regular master degree programs: Environmental Security and Governance; Environmental Security and Governance with a specialization in Climate Change and Security; Gender and Peace Building; International Law and Human Rights; International Law and the Settlement of Disputes; International Peace Studies; Media, Peace and Conflict Studies; Sustainable Natural Resource Management; Peace Education; Responsible Management and Sustainable Economic Development; Sustainable Urban Government and Peace; and an online MA in Sustainable Peace in the Contemporary World. Through these majors, UPEACE’s students develop extraordinary flexibility and intellectual liberty.
The HUFS-UPEACE or University for Peace Dual Master’s Program was instituted in 2007. As mentioned in the introduction, HUFS-UPEACE is the first of its kind in Asia. It includes studying for two semesters each at the University of Peace in Costa Rica and Graduate School of International and Area Studies (GSIAS), HUFS in Korea. That means the graduates will receive two master degrees; one from UPEACE, and another from HUFS GSIAS after the completion of two semesters at each campus. Students will spend their first semester at HUFS, followed by their second and third semesters at UPEACE, before returning to HUFS for their last semester. The range of students who apply for the HUFS-UPEACE program is diverse.
There are students who come to HUFS-UPEACE right after they get a bachelor’s degree. Some students apply for this program in the middle of their business life. Together with UPEACE, HUFS identifies those applicants who are qualified for HUFS-UPEACE. Kang Mi-ri, a staff member of HUFS GSIAS, indicated, “Many of the students who come to apply for HUFS-UPEACE think the qualifications are too harsh at first. We, however, put more of an emphasis on the strong will, motivation, and possibilities of students. Here is a hint: we emphasize student interviews more seriously as well as their TOEFL scores. And, admission to this program is only available around March, and since the students have to fly over to UPEACE in September, there will be no leave of absence from the school.”
HUFS-UPEACE offers International Law and Human Rights, Media Peace and Conflict Studies, and Sustainable Development programs. The International Law and Human Rights course focuses on human rights based on international law and a strong foundation of practice. The program addresses the legal theories of international public law, international criminal laws, organizations under the United Nations, human rights mechanisms and global governance. The Media, Peace and Conflicts studies intends to nurture international experts who manage complicated interactions between conflict, peace and security. The objective of the Sustainable Development course is to acquire the theoretical academic bases and practical knowledge for concrete applications on the global stage. All these lectures are instructed only in English.
GSIAS provides all students in the HUFS-UPEACE Dual Master’s Program with scholarship benefits, which started last year. Scholarships are given during the first and the fourth semesters at HUFS, and a maximum six credits can be replaced by internship programs in international or local organizations. Students who show outstanding academic potential can receive tuition scholarships divided into full, half and partial ones. Three top students win the full tuition scholarship per semester. Those selected as assistants in the research centers or faculty offices receive an assistant scholarship. Furthermore, scholarships at UPEACE are applicable at one per six students. “Many students tend to worry about the high tuition of HUFS-UPEACE. Yet, starting this year, we have scholarship offers at HUFS as well as at UPEACE. Although tuition itself is higher compared with other programs, these scholarships decrease the burden to students,” emphasized Kang.
GSIAS has a preparation school before the first semester starts. It is a preparation program for the incoming students of HUFS-UPEACE in order to provide them with basic knowledge on politics, economics, society and culture, and international studies. Kang stated, “A special lecture on UN entry, global etiquette, basics of human rights and many other lectures are available at the preparation section of the HUFS-UPEACE program.”
Special Lecture Series
HUFS-UPEACE has special classes in order to expose students to a wide diversity of current affairs. They invite former and current ambassadors of foreign missions in Korea and other eminent people such as renowned businessmen. These speeches take place at the International Conference Hall every Thursday and are open to the students of HUFS as well as other graduate students.
Spanish Language Course
An extra Spanish language course is arranged during the first semester to help students adjust to the Spanish speaking environment in Costa Rica. Not only used in Costa Rica, but Spanish is used in many different countries. Therefore, having fluency in Spanish is also practical for those who plan to apply to the UN, NGOs and other international institutions.
The first four graduates of the HUFS-UPEACE have their graduation ceremony
with the President Park in Seoul on Friday, 26 Feb.
“I have gained an acute awareness of global competition, demand, and global consumer trends. Awareness of the world is critical to survive. By completing this course, I received two master’s degrees, one from HUFS and the other from UPEACE. We need to spend quite a lot of money to study abroad, especially when paying for it ourselves. Still, in the case of HUFS-UPEACE with its fine scholarship program, I found it very attractive,” commented Lee, a Chinese student who left for Costa Rica to attend UPEACE. By operating a dual academic degree program with UPEACE, HUFS GSIAS aims at contributing to the cultivation of experts in the fields of human rights and international media who will actively engage in conflict preventions and resolutions around the world. Upon the completion of this program, students can speak eloquently about the benefits of the global leadership competencies they have acquired as well as their tangible value for companies competing in the world’s fastest-growing markets.