Source: KDI Digital Photo Book
“Isn’t it time we take our economic matters into our hands?” (c) President Park Chung Hee.
With these words, the journey that began on March 11, 1971, has come to its 50th year anniversary mark – the journey to figure out new solutions to persisting problems, improve the livelihoods of all people, and make way for development that leaves no one behind. The effort of one country that began 50 years ago soon became a point of reference for many others. The Korea Development Institute is celebrating its 50th anniversary of the work that drove the development of the country, and is now sharing its expertise beyond the country’s borders.
To commemorate this occasion, we sat down for an interview with Ms. Yuri Jun, who was part of the 50th Anniversary project, including the renewal of the Vision Hall and the production of the Path in Crisis documentary.
Please introduce yourself to our readers.
My name is Yuri Jun, or Julie, I’m an alumni of the KDI School, and I currently work at KDI’s 50th Anniversary Bureau. I was working on the 50th Anniversary Project, including the planning and production of the special documentary about KDI’s past, present, and future. The documentary was produced jointly by KDI and Arirang TV. I feel honored to be part of this project.
Can you tell about the most challenging part of your work on the project?
From the first moment that I joined this team, I had to work really hard. While filming the documentary, we had to take into account all kinds of circumstances, even natural seasons. When we had to take shots of the KDI building, we had to work fast and do it as soon as it was possible, while the weather conditions allowed. The schedule had tight deadlines, but the weather conditions and uncontrollable circumstances made it even harder to meet the deadlines. When I just joined the team, I also had to catch up on all the work that had been done prior to that since the task force had been organized before I joined. It was challenging, but I enjoyed it.
What was the most memorable moment of this project for you?
For me, what’s the most memorable is when people appreciate the work that we have put into this project. Hearing people say that it’s inspiring and educational makes me feel that our time and effort have paid off. One such moment was when we needed an actress for our documentary, and my friend who used to work in the World Bank volunteered to be part of it. We needed to shoot some scenes of an international meeting. I was really grateful that she joined the work when we really needed someone. And it mattered a lot to me when she said that she enjoyed watching the documentary later and that she had shared it with her family and friends. It made me feel like our work was reaching people around the world, to show people who we are and what role KDI has played in Korea’s development.
What are some of the changes to Vision Hall?
For starters, the name used to be ‘History Hall’, whereas the new name, ‘Vision Hall’, indicates that we are looking into the future. The hall has been modernized and made more engaging conventional with interactive contents. You can now choose whatever you want to see and have it appear before you on the screen instead of the traditional text panels and exhibit labels the wall like it was in the past. It’s more modern, and it’s easier to update with more information.
What do you think are some lessons to draw from the past 50 years of experience?
I would say that if you have a strong passion for something and the eagerness to work, you can find a way to make it happen. When I was doing an interview for the documentary with the former President of KDI, Doctor Hee-yhon Song, he told me an interesting story from the early days of the Institute. As you know, back in the 1970s there were no facilities like we have today, so they had to calculate all the numbers by hand. One such time, they had to do some estimates for the growth rates of the next year, staying up for nights burning the midnight oil working. And almost all of the numbers came out correct! This really goes to show that if you set your mind on something, anything can be achieved.
Source: Arirang TV YouTube Channel (https://youtu.be/Mc9KMUcLZsI)
How do you think your experience at KDI has changed your career path?
I think it is not quite right to say that KDIS has had a huge impact on my career path, but I learned how to work in multi-cultural environments, and that will be a great asset when I develop my career in the future. I learned how to co-work with people from diverse cultures in every class at the school. Of course, there were some difficult moments dealing with controversial issues such as regional conflicts, but I learned that the effort to respect and understand each other has a huge power to drive better solutions or outcomes than I expected at the end. Plus, KDIS is known for its busy schedule as you guys are experiencing now. I improved my multi-tasking skills while I was taking 5 courses in a semester. Additionally, time management skills were also needed when I was trying to finish all the writing assignments. Those are the additional skills that I learned from KDIS life and are really useful to do my job now.
Any advice or recommendations for the current KDIS students?
I know how hard the schedule at KDI can get, so I would like to say that you guys are now in Korea and this is the perfect opportunity for you to learn the culture and history of this country. Your Korean classmates will be very happy to talk with you and help you when you need it. And for the Korean students, I highly recommend them to make friends with as many people as possible to learn new cultures. You can find your color and talent here, so enjoy the diversity and the opportunities.