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KDIS to be a knowledge hub for key issues, says Dean YOU

23 Oct, 2018 News Center 1,076

Professor YOU, Jong-Il is known to be one of KDI School’s notable professors and an outstanding researcher on topics like Economic Development, Macroeconomics, etc. The Globe had a wonderful opportunity to have a friendly dialogue with Professor YOU, and take a peek into a day in his life. While capturing one of his usual days at KDIS, we were convinced that he is not only modest and diligent but also a thorough professional. Dean YOU let us get to know about his vision for KDI School, and his thoughts on pressing issues and leadership.

You are one of the founding members of KDI School. But is there any aspect of your career, before you became a founding member, that you wish to share with our audience?

When I was young I was interested in social justice. I could not stand the injustices that prevailed both in Korea, and the world.  Although my major was Science, I thought that Economics, for me, is the best way of understanding the causes and structure of injustices. Then, I became an economist. I have been a professor at KDIS since 1998, specializing in Macroeconomics and Development Policy. Teaching at KDIS has been the most enjoyable part of my working period because it has a wonderful vision of being a global-oriented, top-notch policy school.

Dean YOU arriving at KDIS from the Campus Housing (8:40 a.m.)

What are the key projects of KDIS that you would like to push for the next 3 years?

First of all, I want to provide a better environment in terms of living conditions and better education for our students. Even if it is not done very quickly, creating a new school cafeteria with various international foods and improving the campus housing facilities with supporting services are of high priority. Moreover, I will be focusing on the improvement of education by updating the curriculum and upgrading the teaching methods in order to follow the rapid change in this century of fusion and multi-disciplinary learning. I want to make KDIS a kind of knowledge hub for some key issues, including development policy, based on a comparative analysis of the Korean development experience, project evaluation, and implications of new technologies.

Dean YOU has lunch with a student at school cafeteria (12:20 p.m.)

What are the main challenges for KDIS in order to become a world-class development and public policy graduate school?

Relocation to Sejong poses big challenges in terms of recruiting faculty members and students, and also a connection with the rest of the world. If we look at the past, KDIS was quite a unique institute, but other universities are increasingly trying to emulate what we do. Therefore, we face growing competition among Public Policy schools. Our dependence on government support is an advantage, but at the same time, it places a constraint on what we want to do. I am trying to carry out a big fundraising campaign so that we can secure the resources to create more innovative ideas.

Dean YOU has a meeting with staff members (1:40 p.m.)

What role do you believe KDIS can take in the Korean reunification process?

A majority of Koreans are eager to see reunification, but it is going to be a long-term process. At the moment, an immediate objective is to soften the nuclear crisis and establish peaceful relations. We are very hopeful provided that the current process of inter-Korean reconciliation and cooperation keep moving forward.

Obviously, KDIS plays a central role in capacity-building, not only for North Korean officials but also businessmen. As long as they haven’t had much experience in learning about private entrepreneurship for efficient management, our school may provide advanced training and workshops. We may also help North Korean officials in terms of designing reform policies, and giving them some advice. Actually, there is also a possibility to bring the North Korean young people here and have them study alongside our other students in the upcoming future, but that is going to take some more time.

Dean YOU is busy in the office (3:30 p.m.)

What are the essential elements of great leadership?

There is no scientific definition as to what leadership is. Regarding my personal views, basically, I think the key elements of leadership are vision and judgment, which means that a good leader should provide a clear vision for the future to all members of the organization. He has to be able to decide what are the things that are needed to be done, which we call as the judgment process. Even if you have a great vision but you do wrong things, you are not going to realize your vision.

Dean YOU ends the working day exchanging a few words with a colleague (6:20 p.m.)

By Feruza ALIKULOVA (2018 MPM, Uzbekistan)
Photos by Wesam HAMDI (2018 MPP, Egypt)