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Development should not only be quantitative

01 May, 2012 News Center 954

Professor Choi joined the KDI School this spring, leaving his job at the World Bank. Before he commences his lecture in the summer semester, two of the Globe reporters had a privilege to meet with the scholar and hear about his background, his present and future aspirations.

The cheerful professor started the interview with some words of wisdom: “Try to be happy, always. Life is not only about the future, but about now.” In fact this has been his guiding principle for his industrious academic and professional career.

He lived in the USA for the past 12 years. While there, he attained a Master’s degree at the University of Michigan and a Doctorate in Social Sciences at the Maxwell School, Syracuse University. Devoted to public sector reform and anti-corruption governance, he joined the World Bank where he worked as a specialist in those areas, providing support for developing countries such as Kazakhstan and Uzebekistan.

In January 2012, he returned to Korea and took up a faculty position at the KDI School. He was motivated to accept this offer by the school’s mission to “educate the present and future leaders in government, business and civic organizations who can effectively meet the challenges of the globalizing world.” He believes the KDI School will give him a wonderful platform to reach out to a large number of public service officials, who can return to their countries and champion good governance reforms. For the summer course he is scheduled to teach, Prof. Choi plans to combine his practical experience in anti-corruption strategies with several theoretical models. The class will include comparative studies of different countries’ institutional reform and a series of open discussions with students.

As he waits for the summer semester, Prof. Choi is busy working on various scholarly articles. One of his papers is focusing on China and North Korea relations in terms of economic cooperation and dependency. He is also finalizing a paper on anti-corruption reform in foreign aid. The latter will undoubtedly intrigue many international students who have a keen interest in matters of aid and development cooperation.

Toward the end of the interview, Prof. Choi let on some details about him outside the office. As an avid traveler who has been to many countries across Europe and Asia, he regrets never having visited Africa. “I will make a visit in the near future,” he said resolutely. He also engages himself in diverse sports such as yoga and soccer, so he will be the man to watch at the next KDI School Sports Day!


by Grace MGANGA (2012 MDP, Malawi) and Befekadu Mulatu LIKASA (2011 MPP, Ethiopia)