President Reuven Rivlin received an honorary doctorate in law at Yonsei University in Seoul on Tuesday.
Prior to the ceremony, Rivlin witnessed memorandums of understanding being signed between Yonsei University and The Hebrew University, Bar Ilan University, Tel Aviv University, the Technion and Ben Gurion University.
The accolade came a day after Israel’s president and South Korean President Moon Jae-a day signed memorandums of understandings in fields of energy and education at the Presidential residence.
“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 great university which is dedicated to the pursuit of truth,” Rivlin told guests at the renowned educational institute.
“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.
“This shared approach is the reason why Israel and Korea invest a higher percentage of their GDP in R&D than any other country. 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 was accompanied on the trip by a large academic delegation from Israel.
“You are taking Israel’s reputation from one end of the world to the other,” he told them.
Israel’s president laid a wreath in Seoul’s military cemetery in memory of victims of the Korean War.
He also attended a leaders of Korean industry event at the Korean Chamber of Commerce and Industry.
Israel hopes to sign a free trade agreement with South Korea.
“Israel is the country that made the desert bloom,” Rivlin told KCCI delegates.
“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.”
Rivlin called on the Korean business community to visit Israel and opportunities.
A day earlier, Rivlin and Moon discussed how to increase cooperation between the countries.
Rivlin invited Moon to officially visit Israel.
“Israel and South Korea can work together to spread the blessings of technology and innovation throughout the Middle East,” he said. “Let us explore the miracles we can make together.”
“Your education system and famous Israeli chutzpah are a model for us,” Moon told Rivlin, adding that Israel and Korea shared common democratic and economic values.
“Our relationship has grown stronger over the years,” he continued.
Moon noted Israel is known as a start-up nation with the most start-ups in the world.
He added, “I look forward to learning about the Israeli success story.”
During cordial discussions, Rivlin informed Moon that Korean tourism to Israel had reached a record high last year despite travel warnings from the Korean government.
Rivlin asked Moon to reconsider warnings as it did not reflect security in Israel.