“Work hard but make time to enjoy the little things; dinner with friends, hang outs with colleagues, family today because you do not know what tomorrow brings. Look for the positive in life and share it with others.” These were the parting words of Professor Siwook Lee as we wrapped up an animated interview.
Professor Lee is a new addition to the panoply of highly qualified and experienced Professors KDI School boasts of. He is no stranger at all to the Korean Development Institute, KDI. Prior to joining KDI School, he worked diligently with KDI for six years after he had earned his Ph.D. in Economics at the University of Michigan, USA. He has been quite an active policy consultant to the Korean government, especially in the area of international economic issues. He was involved in many government policy initiatives like Free Trade agreements (FTA) with the United States and the European Union, FDI promotion and service sector enhancement among many others. He also participated in the Knowledge Sharing Program (KSP) for Azerbaijan, Uzbekistan, Sri Lanka, Ecuador and Mongolia for about 2 years for each country. “I really enjoyed my work at KDI” he added with a broad smile on his face.
When asked why he decided to join the KDI faculty; the unique research environment coupled with the highly- motivated students was his main motive. “KDI School teaching and research environment is excellent. In South Korea, there are few universities that have a system of regular Teaching Assistant (TA) review sections or the Class assistant (CA) system like KDI School. This system would definitely compliment the lecturer’s effort in class and helps students greatly. I find it very innovative”. The small class size which ensures great interaction in class sections was also very appealing to him. He was in full praise of the high level of motivation of students here in KDI School. Professor Lee added that KDI School environment would also provide him the perfect atmosphere to pursue more rigorous research in international trade policy issues.
In the spring semester, Professor Lee is teaching Applied Market and Public Policy, a core course. Subsequently, he is planning to teach a course, tentatively entitled “Industrial Policy and Trade Policy under the globalization era” in the fall semester. Basing on his policy research experience, he will tackle more of the contemporaneous issues in global production network, export diversification, foreign direct investment, immigration, tertiarization and so on. Like a master chef, students should expect a perfect blend of Korean past experience and applications that would help current developing countries. His participation in KDI School’s Distance Learning Seminar Series on Korea’s Development Experience has given him an in-depth understanding of what international students expect and would like to take back to their countries. As a result, his courses will be very pragmatic.
Professor Lee is a graduate of Yonsei University; University of Paris-IX, France where he studied applied economics for his master’s degree. He has worked at the Korea Institute for International Economic Policy (KIEP), Center for International Economic Studies and is currently serving as Director at the Korean Association of Trade and Industry Studies.
By Brian Dzansi (2014 MDP, Ghana)