KMU’s ‘Thursday Special Lecture’
- 21.05.26 / 임채원
‘Thursday’s Special Lecture’ is one of the most popular lectures at Kookmin University (KMU). During the registration period, this particular course is one of the earliest ones to close. KMU’s Thursday Special Lecture is the first of its kind to invite outside speakers. It’s a series that is conducted as a regular class. For 26 years, since it began in September 1994, 560 experts from various fields of society — including humanities, society, science, technology, culture, and art — have been invited to give lectures. Through this course, the university has developed an educational environment where students develop an open mind, a wise attitude toward life, and an eye for the future. That’s why KMU invites great speakers from all walks of life.
The Thursday Special Lecture invites celebrities from various fields from whom KMU students want to learn. It’s designed to foster culture and personality through direct and indirect exchanges between speakers and students. It’s a one-credit regular liberal arts class and is open to about 220 students per semester with no restrictions by major or grade. Figures including former President Roh Moo-Hyun, Cardinal Stephen Kim Sou-Hwan, former U.S. Ambassador to Korea Mark Lippert, film director Park Chan-Wook, and chairman of SM Entertainment Lee Soo-Man have given lectures at KMU through the course. Recently, former UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon was invited to give a lecture on climate change and sustainable development.
Currently, the Thursday Special Lecture is operated virtually because of the COVID-19 pandemic. The speaker delivers their speech from the KMU conference hall where a safe number of socially-distanced spectators listen to the lecture in person. The remaining students who signed up for the class are provided with a recording via the online course system. With the speaker’s permission, the university sometimes posts the video on KMU’s official website so that all students, faculty, and staff might enjoy the lecture. The lecture contents are organized and published every two years and distributed to national and public libraries, as well as secondary schools nationwide.
The Thursday Special Lecture is run by the Thursday Special Lecture Steering Committee, which consists of professors from various departments, at the beginning and end of each semester. Based on the opinions of the students from the previous semester, the committee discusses which speakers it would like to invite and votes accordingly at the beginning of the new semester. The committee surveys students to see which speakers they would like to invite. Given the course is a liberal arts class, invited speakers are typically meant to be accessible to all students, regardless of their majors.
Anyone can participate in Thursday’s Special Lecture. In principle, students can apply for the class through the KMU website because it’s a regular course. KMU students can participate in the lecture regardless of their nationality. Since the speakers change each week, interested parties can request to attend a lecture via the PR team or the professor in charge in advance, even if they aren’t a student.
If someone want to attend a particular lecture,
they’re also encouraged to give their opinions via a survey distributed by management. Should you have any opinions on Thursday’s Special Lectures for future students, you can also contact the Kookmin Review.
Joo-Hwan Kim Editor-in-Chief
KMU’s ‘Thursday Special Lecture’