Students are getting busier as their new semester begins. They have too many things to worry about, including getting good grades and looking for jobs, thinking that these are the most common problems many young people face. It may sound trite but on the other side of the world, people of the same age do deal with other problems. A well-known online magazine, Newsweek.com, indicated some of these problems by using realistic numbers in a simple quiz named “Global Literacy 2008”. Let me give you some examples.
Do you know who the longest-serving head of state is and how many years he or she has ruled? The answer is President Bongo of Gabon, who has been in office since 1967. Even though Queen Elizabeth in the United Kingdom or King Bhumibol Adulyadej in Thailand have also been in office for more than 50 years, their role is only ceremonial. On the other hand, President Bongo has substantially ‘ruled’ Gabon for more than 40 years. Can you imagine this somewhat dictatorial government existing nowadays? However, it is not difficult to find autocratic states in Africa, which results in a vicious circle.
Also, you may have heard of forced laborers, but can you guess how many there are? Thousands? Hundreds of thousands? According to the International Labour Organization, roughly 12 million people in the world are victims of forced labor. By far the most victims-9.5 million-are working in Asia and the Pacific.
Globalization has truly made most countries pursue similar values, but on the other side of the world, there are others who still worry about justice, equality and even their livelihood, including finding food and shelter. As Sookmyung Women’s University attempts to create global leaders through S-Leadership, getting acquainted with global issues and deeply thinking about them is required of all Sookmyungians. Now, why don’t you ask yourself, “Am I prepared to become a global leader?”