President Reuven Rivlin receives honorary doctorate from Yonsei University (Kobi Gideon/GPO)

“Both the Jewish and Korean people view education not merely as an activity to be completed, but as a life-long process,” said President Rivlin.  

An honorary doctorate in law was awarded to President Reuven Rivlin on Tuesday in a ceremony held at Yonsei University in Seoul, South Korea, the Israeli president’s office has announced.

Prior to the ceremony, the visiting president watched as memorandums of understanding were signed between Yonsei University and five Israeli institutes of higher learning: Hebrew University, Bar Ilan University, Tel Aviv University, the Technion, and Ben Gurion University.

“As someone who studied law at Israel’s Hebrew University and has dealt with law and legislation his entire life, it is such an honor to accept a Doctorate of Laws from this [Yonsei] great university which is dedicated to the pursuit of truth,” said Rivlin.

“Both the Jewish and Korean people view education not merely as an activity to be completed, but as a life-long process in which we constantly push the boundaries of knowledge and come up with new questions and ideas for meeting the challenges we face,” the president told the audience.

“This shared approach is the reason why Israel and Korea invest a higher percentage of their GDP in R&D than any other country,” he said, adding that “this shared approach creates tremendous potential for cooperation: economic cooperation between Israel’s unique start-up ecosystem and Korea’s world-leading industries and companies, and academic cooperation between our excellent universities and researchers in which we take such great pride.”

Rivlin’s entourage to South Korea includes a large academic delegation, according to his office.

“You are taking Israel’s reputation from one end of the world to the other,” the president told the Israeli academic representatives accompanying him on the visit.

Earlier in the day, the president laid a wreath at the central monument in Seoul’s military cemetery in memory of the victims of the Korean War, according to a presidential spokesperson.

Rivlin: ‘We See Challenges as Opportunities’

Against the backdrop of progress towards signing a free trade agreement between Israel and South Korea, Rivlin attended a special event for leaders of Korean industry held by the Korean Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KCCI)

Rivlin’s office says that the president thanked the KCCI chairman for the invitation, stating that “Israel is the country that made the desert bloom. We faced great challenges, so we had to develop great solutions. We see challenges as opportunities – this is the secret of Israel as a start-up nation.”

At the end of his speech, the president called upon the leaders of the Korean business community to come to Israel and explore the many excellent opportunities for collaboration, his office added.