Our Purpose

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Who We Are
The Institute for Global Engagement & Empowerment (IGEE) was launched in 2017 at Yonsei University in Seoul, Korea to contribute to implementing the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development by integrating various missionary and volunteer activities within the University, directing intellectual and human resources to address social issues, and educating the next generation of global citizens. IGEE works within the framework of the Sustainable Development Goals.


  • Seoung Hwan Suh
    Seoung Hwan Suh
    President, Yonsei University
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    Seoung Hwan Suh

    President, Yonsei UniversitySeoung Hwan Suh

    Yonsei University is actively contributing to the achievement of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) through founding the Institute for Global Engagement and Empowerment (IGEE) in 2017 based on the Christian spirit and the founder's will during the last 135 years of Yonsei history. Yonsei University has consistently contributed to the social engagement sector based on our core value of 'Engagement' and was recognized as one of the world's leading engaged universities in the Times Higher Education (THE) university impact ranking 2019. Based on our capacity and experience, Yonsei University will continue to strive to achieve SDGs as a responsible member of Korean society and the international community. In addition, during the COVID-19 pandemic, we aim for ‘Leaving no one behind’ and sustainable community through the sharing of Republic of Korea's best practices and knowledge of COVID-19 quarantine towards foreign countries. Yonsei University will continue to contribute to the sustainable development of our society and the globe based on cooperation with Yonsei University Health System (YUHS) and relevant organizations by integrating our expertise and resources of entire Yonsei University members. As Korea's leading university for social engagement, hereby asking you to co-participate in Yonsei University's proceed on truth and freedom so that we can fulfill our social responsibilities and engagement.

  • BAN Ki-moon
    BAN Ki-moon
    Honorary Chairman, IGEE
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    BAN Ki-moon

    Honorary Chairman, IGEEBAN Ki-moon

    Despite awesome advances made in the past century, humankind confronts critical social, economic and environmental issues that require urgent attention. Our response to these challenges will determine whether we march forward to a sustainable future, or fall into a quandary that may threaten our very survival. We are standing at a crossroads representing both a crisis and an opportunity. As the 8th Secretary-General of the United Nations, until 2015, I led the international community to engage in the joint development goals - the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). As a follow-up mission, the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) agenda was adopted on September 25th, 2015. To accomplish the commitment by 2030, it is crucial to harness the expertise and engagement of universities. The Institute for Global Engagement and Empowerment (IGEE), where I serve as the honorary chair, will link the professional expertise of the university with the needs identified on the ground. By forging this intersection, individuals, communities, states and the international society will come together through academic and practical collaboration to build a sustainable future for humankind.

  • SOHN Myongsei
    SOHN Myongsei
    Chairman, IGEE
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    Chairman, IGEESOHN Myongsei

    The economic and social development that Korea achieved in the past 50 years has no precedents. We began from rubble and built what Korea is today. The knowledge and experience of Korea to establish the universal healthcare coverage can be an excellent example of SDG achievement in the healthcare and well-being agenda and can offer valuable assets to be studied and shared by the global community. Likewise, the experience of Korea to end extreme poverty can be a model for many developing countries. Therefore, we will ensure that our unparalleled experience to become an ODA donor country from an ODA recipient country translates into practical solutions on the ground and must be shared with the world. The contribution of Korea to the global community as a member of the Development Assistance Committee must be commensurate with its international standing. It is my pledge to you that the Institute of Global Engagement and Empowerment (IGEE) will try to make meaningful progress toward achieving the Sustainable Developmental Goals.

What We Do

YONSEI UNIVERSITY Institute for Global Engagement igee
  • Networking Information
    Identify, utilize and link academic and human resources available in Yonsei University

    Networking Information

    Yonsei University has about 40,000 students; over 5,000 faculty members; and about 120 research centers. The Severance Hospital, which is part of the Yonsei Healthcare System, is one of the leading medical institutions in Korea. IGEE plans to identify and utilize its academic and human resources, and find ways to realize their full potential.


    • Yonsei Social Engagement Survey
    • Yonsei Social Resource Bank
  • Collaborative Engagement
    Connect academic expertise to field work

    Collaborative Engagement

    After identifying Yonsei’s human and academic resources through Networking Information, IGEE connects the resources with ongoing social engagement and volunteer activities to promote Collaborative Engagement.


  • Education & Research
    Educate global citizens and leaders in sustainable development
    Foster research on SDGs

    Education & Research

    IGEE educates thousands of Yonsei students to be the next generation of global citizens and promotes research on sustainable development.


  • Transformative Messaging
    Increase public awareness of SDGs Promote partnerships and cooperation

    Transformative Messaging

    By spreading relevant messages related to the SDGs, IGEE strives to increase public awareness of sustainable development. IGEE also hosts the annual Global Engagement & Empowerment Forum on Sustainable Development (GEEF) to evaluate and provide solutions for the implementation the SDG.



  • 1885
    Chejungwon Established
    (Later Renamed Severance Hospital)
  • 1915
    Yonhi College Founded
  • 1957
    Severance & Yonhi College Merge to Become Yonsei University
  • 2017
    IGEE Established
Horace G. Underwood, Dr. Horace Newton Allen, Dr. Oliver R. Avison
  • Horace G. Underwood
    Founder of Underwood School
  • Dr. Horace Newton Allen
    Founder of Chejungwon
  • Dr. Oliver R. Avison
    First Head of Chejungwon
    Founder of Severance Hospital

Since 1885
Past, Present and Future

The history of Yonsei University began in 1885 with Korea’s first modern hospital Chejungwon which was established by medical missionary Horace N. Allen. Around that time, missionary Horace G. Underwood visited Korea and assisted in medical treatment at Chejungwon while starting his work in education and missionary activities. The work of these two missionaries in Chejungwon has become the foundation of Yonsei.

Works related to medicine were institutionalized to become Severance Medical College. In education, what was initially known as Underwood School later became Yonhi College. In 1957, Yonhi College and Severance Medical College merged to become Yonsei University.

Committed to our founders’ core principles of Truth and Freedom, Yonsei has deeply engaged in the needs of our society. Now through IGEE, Yonsei will further serve and enrich our communities and humanity by promoting sustainable development.