Special Report – Human Renaissance Academy
Date of report: November 13, 2016 (Interviewed on November 13, 2016)
Culture reporter: Kim Na-yeong
The Human Renaissance Academy (HRA), operated by a corporation known as Wisdom City, is considered an incubator for local talented people of Jeju. It aims to foster undergraduate students with ‘3Cs’: competence, commitment and character. To achieve this goal, HRA offers a program where students systematically read classical books and books on case studies, economic history, and business management for a year. From the 1st to the 9th cycles, a total of 248 trainees completed the course. HRA is on its 10th cycle this year.
HRA consists of faculty, mentors, and sponsors. Professors in classical masterpieces feature specialists in diverse fields, including former and current journalists, film directors, and a former Korean ambassador to Egypt. Former and active entrepreneurs teach case studies and research on business management. They fly from other regions or even other countries to Jeju, hoping to teach and guide the students to become character-rich people. Without expecting any rewards, they never hesitate to donate their talent to the students. Mentors are comprised of Jeju-based entrepreneurs who actively engage in the local economic activities of Jeju. They have five to six mentees to give advice on their lives and provide information on the enterprises. The mentors also establish a human network as senior members of the society. Thanks to generous sponsors, HRA can secure a seamless operation of its system. With the sponsorship, students can have free meals and professors can cover their airfares and room charges. HRA is an academic organization run on private donations.
Some students drop out of the HRA course. This is because it is not easy for the students to keep up with their own school lessons while meeting with their teammates every week to discuss case studies and read some unfamiliar classical books of the East and the West. Above all, students may be tempted to give up midway due to the weekly assignments they should complete even when struggling with the midterm and final exams. However, most of them manage to finish the course thanks to the encouragement from their teammates and others taking the same course, relying on each other. What is surprising is that all of the programs are offered at no cost. Without sponsors and faculty, this miracle would not have happened.
At the completion ceremony, students speak out the change that HRA brought to them, crying on the stage. Students talk about how much they grew and changed through the program. With tearful eyes, they express their heartfelt gratitude when describing how miraculous the program was to them. A beautiful miracle that everyone makes together can happen between a sincere mentor and a sincere mentee. And HRA is at the center of this miracle.