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The Awesome KDI School Experience Summed Up in One Word

21 Jul, 2021 KDIS News Center 610

What one word comes to mind when you think of KDI School? How can the amazing experience of professors, students, staff, alumni, and other members of the KDIS community be summed up in only one word? Well, KDIS’ strongest asset is its ever-growing and increasingly diverse community. We sought out some members of the KDIS community to find out their experiences by asking them to describe their KDIS experience in one word. Below are their inspiring responses!


The first community member we spoke with was professor Christopher Plumb, who hails from the United Kingdom.

Please tell us a bit about yourself so that the readers can get to know you.

Prof. Plumb: I’m Christopher Plumb, and I teach Academic Writing, Language in Public Policy & Management, and Public Speech & Debate at KDI School.

What word did you choose to sum up the KDIS experience?
Prof. Plumb: I chose the adjective ‘far-reaching.’ The word ‘far-reaching’ is often used with the words effect, consequence, implication, change, decision, reform, research, and impact. It is this lexical relationship that made me pick this word.

Could you tell me more about why you choose this word?
Prof. Plumb: I chose this word because it captures so many different aspects and characteristics of KDI School. First, ‘far-reaching’ can describe the impact and influence of KDI School and its alumni in many areas and organizations. This word also captures the broad research agenda of KDIS and KDI School. I think that ‘far-reaching’ alludes to the wide geographic reach of the students and alumni. For me, the word ‘far-reaching’ well describes the historical role KDIS played in Korea’s development. From its foundation in 1971, the decisive influence of the KDIS spanned the following 50 years and across two generations. Much of what we see in contemporary Korea was shaped by the far-reaching decisions made and research conducted at KDIS decades ago. Lastly, the word ‘far-reaching’ brings to mind the idea that KDI School’s faculty, students, and alumni will shape the future.


The second community member we spoke with was a current student, Ivonne Ramos Héndez (2020 MPM), who hails from Colombia.

Please tell us a bit about yourself so that the readers can get to know you.

Ivonne: I majored in international relations and since then I have been working in international cooperation, disaster risk reduction, and humanitarian affairs for the Colombian government.

Currently, I am majoring in MPM here at KDIS. Joining this big community of development practitioners at KDIS School has been a meaningful experience. I look forward to bringing lessons learned from the Korean development experience on knowledge sharing and applying them into my field through South-South and triangular cooperation.

What word did you choose to sum up the KDIS experience?
Ivonne: I chose the word ‘challenging.’

Why did you choose this word?
Ivonne: Being part of the very first COVID-19 cohort has been challenging for all members of the KDI School family. I feel blessed for the support that our professors, staff, fellow friends and colleagues have given us to make this journey unforgettable and amazing.


Our final community member is a KDIS alumni, Hayoung Jeon (2016 MDP), from South Korea.

Please tell us a bit about yourself so that the readers can get to know you.
Hayoung: I am Hayoung Jeon from South Korea who joined KDI School in Fall 2016 for the MDP programme and graduated in August 2019. I was called “Korean-African sister” by most of my African classmates. Currently, I am working in the JW LEE Center for Global Medicine at Seoul National University College of Medicine. Prior to that, I completed my UN assignment with UNFPA in Zambia where I served as Youth Health and Development Program Officer.

What word did you choose to sum up the KDIS experience?
Hayoung: I chose the word ‘ubuntu.’

Why did you choose this word?
Hayoung: ‘Ubuntu’ means humanity, which directly translates into “I am because we are” in Kiswahili. I remember the first day of Academic Writing class at KDIS and checking into the dormitory in the pre-fall semester of August 2016 where I was truly welcomed by two Malawian brothers and one Rwandese sister. The first thing I personally recognized about the KDI School was the warm-hearted diversity. Moreover, as time flew by and school life grew busier with each passing day, I received beautiful coordination and caring mindsets from classmates who eventually turned into my KDIS family from all over the world.

The courses I took at KDIS such as The UN and Global Affairs, Monitoring and Evaluation, and Population and Development helped bring me closer to understanding how to tackle complex global issues. Also, these courses served as an integral part of my reintegration into the UN system through UNFPA Zambia after I graduated from KDIS.

Besides my coursework at KDIS, I was involved in several activities such as the 2016 International Food Festival and the 2017 Song and Dance Festival. I participated in the Song and Dance Festival with brothers and sisters from various parts of the African continent and we won 1st place! Winning felt great, but even more than that I relished the opportunity to work in a team and leave a positive impression.

In short, KDIS embodies the essence of ‘ubuntu’, in which no person is left behind within the grander human context. Without having studied at KDI School, I probably would not have been able to enter international work and adapt to different life contexts.