North Korean leader Kim Jong-un was given an honorary doctorate in economics from HELP University in Malaysia, Foreign Policy reported Wednesday.
In a letter to the magazine, HELP University vice chancellor Paul Chan said that the university conferred the honorary doctorate to "His Excellency President" as an effort to build "a bridge to reach the people."
"We had a simple ceremony in the [North Korean] embassy in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia... I hope that using this 'soft constructive' approach we can help them and North Asia and the world to be a better place for mankind," Chan said.
The North Korean ambassador attended the ceremony on behalf of Kim.
HELP University is a private, Kuala Lumpur-based college founded in 1986.
It awarded the honorary doctorate to Kim in recognition of his "untiring efforts for the education of the country and the well-being of its people."
Chan expressed confidence that North Korea "will engage the world in many constructive ways" in the next six years. He said Kim sent a letter thanking HELP for giving him his first honorary doctorate degree from abroad.