Both Korea and KDI School have gone through quite a transition during the past decades. Back in the 1960s, the country was one of the poorest in the world with its per capita income hovering around 10 percent (50 percent) of that of the U.S. (of the world average), which has dramatically gone up to 70 percent (250 percent) as of today. Since its inception in 1997, the school also made a number of eye-opening achievements: to name a few, the size of faculty has grown from 7 (in 1998) to 41 (in 2017); the student body has risen from 55 with only 14 international students to 366 with over 140 colleagues from outside Korea; and, the number of courses offered has increased from 60 to 210 covering a lot more interdisciplinary topics. More importantly, KDIS has now positioned itself, as we proudly believe, as a premier public policy school both domestically and internationally.
November 2nd was the day that the school community celebrated its 20th anniversary by hosting two meaningful events. During the 20th anniversary ceremony in the morning, the school recognized the late Dean Dr. Gill-Chin LIM, the inaugural dean of the school who established a firm foundation of the school as an academic institution, by delivering the plaque to his brother Dr. Hyun-Chin LIM, the emeritus professor of Seoul National University. Another recognition went to the KDIS Alumni Association, which was represented in the event by Mr. Chang Ouk LEE, the class of 2002 and the current president of the organization. In the afternoon, the 20th Anniversary Commemorative Workshops were held with the two themes that are very much relevant to our school – “Impact Evaluation of Human Capital Investment” and “Toward a Better World with Good Governance.” To set the stage, Professor Jong-il YOU delivered a keynote speech entitled as “The Idea of Globalism and Knowledge Sharing.” In the two parallel paper sessions, twelve rigorous academic research papers were presented by our colleagues in KDIS as well as externally-invited researchers, which were followed by the heated discussions and Q&As.
The centerpiece of our celebration was the disclosure of Vision 2040 to the KDIS family, a roadmap to set another plateau to conquer over the coming 20 years. Building upon the achievements of the school during the last 20 years, the school community has gone through numerous internal deliberations since September 2016, out of which we came up with so-called “1-3-7 vision structure”: namely, one vision statement to set where we want to be in 20 years from today (or in our 40th anniversary); three core values as guiding principles in achieving that long-term goal of ours; and, seven strategic initiatives as vehicles of how to get there.
To share some details, the new vision states, “the KDI School community – faculty and staff, students, alumni, and other partners and supporters – will strive to be “the best public policy and management school in Asia that creates a better world through excellence in education, research, and knowledge sharing” with the following three core values as our guiding principles:
- Innovative education, to educate future global leaders and equip them with in-depth knowledge, critical thinking and practical skills that can make a positive difference in the world.
- Impactful research, to produce cutting-edge research that addresses real-world policy issues and expands the boundaries of knowledge.
- Result-oriented knowledge sharing, to contribute to international cooperation and capacity building by sharing Korea’s development experience with the world.
With the above as the guiding post and principles, we elaborated seven strategic initiatives, in order to make our education programs more innovative, our research outputs more impactful, and our international knowledge-sharing more effective. The outcome of our effort to pursue these strategic initiatives, we expect, will be a contribution to making a better world characterized by vibrant growth, sustainable development, and shared prosperity. Some of these initiatives, such as revamping our part-time and Ph.D. degree programs, are already under-way, and we plan to share with the KDIS community as we make a further progress.
Many of us, myself in particular, will not be around when KDIS celebrates its 40th anniversary in 2037. Nonetheless, I do wish the school to make another quantum leap in the next 20 years with proud over-achievements of this new vision and, building upon them, to set even a more challenging and longer-term goal at that time, probably labeled as Vision 4080.