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International relations forum: seminar on diplomacy

18 May, 2018 News Center 1,119

Within a week after its debut at the Happy Hour, the International Relations Forum hosted its first seminar titled Diplomacy, conducted by Professor Kim, Byoung-Joo. The forum had a successful turn out for organizers, boasting a total of 36 students out of the 41 initial applicants, registered during the Happy Hour. 

Professor Kim, Byoung- Joo, currently teaching at the Korean Development Institute School of Public Policy and Management, received his Ph.D. from M.I.T Department of Political Science in the United States after his B.A with Honors in Economics, Political Science and International Relations from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Before joining KDIS, Professor Byoung-Joo served as a diplomat and a policy counselor. Therefore, the theme of the seminar was based on his prior experiences as a diplomat and a policy counselor. Precisely, two projects; ‘Integrated Performance Management System’ and ‘Competency Model System’ for Korean diplomats. “Four and a half years of a person’s lifetime is not a short time, so I have had a lot of passion for this and I put a lot of pride for four and a half years of my life building this system”, stated Professor Kim, Byoung-Joo.

The programs were designed to enhance the performance of Korean diplomats and their capabilities. However, these programs were not solely limited to the public officials from the Minister of Foreign Affairs. In fact, one of the main goals was to achieve full integration of all ministries, based on these two approaches. Hence, the first segment of seminar centered on the ‘Integrated Performance Management System’. Explained by Professor Kim, Byoung- Joo, performance management consists of the following categories: Mission, Vision, Core Values, Focus areas, Strategic Directions, Perspective, Strategic Goals, Performance Objectives and Performance Indicators, all of which must be clearly identified and defined, by each institution, for maximization of results

The Competency Model defines the core competencies needed for all Korean Diplomats, subsequently building a system to evaluate these competencies. Once that has been achieved, a system that would foster these precise competencies would consequently emerge. According to Professor Kim, Byoung- Joo, “the development part was supposed to be the most important one but it did not get materialized”.

The successful implementation of these projects was highly reliant on goal-setting followed by feedback, resulting in potential promotions and compensations as incentives for all public officials. These incentives were designed to cultivate maximize productive and consumer satisfaction, especially in Korean Embassies abroad. Ergo, annual goal-setting was devised following a top-down approach whereas, performance evaluation feedback-procedure trailed a bottom-up approach; individuals, team, section and at the top Ministry. 

A vibrant two hours of diplomacy ended with an engaging session of Q&A and memorable words from Professor Kim, Byoung- Joo:

“I can also be philosophical about this, after all these efforts, ambition, motivation, devotion and commitment just like many things in life, after a few years things fell apart. So, what I built is not currently operating. Because it was a rather bold approach to building a perfection. Hence, it was too complicated to operate and too difficult for government officials to operationalize for a long time”.


By Stella CONSELHO (2018 MDP, Mozambique)