[Letters] KOICA preparing South Korean envoys for the world
“Development” in South Korea, at present, is something that goes beyond its national borders. The Korean Official Development Assistance’s mission, in general terms, are humanitarian responsibility, involvement in major global issues and increased interdependence among states. The third rationale, in specific terms unique to Korea, relates to responsibility as a past recipient of development assistance.
South Korea graduated from the World Bank’s lending list in 1995 and became an OECD donor country the year after. In 1962, per capita annual income was a mere $82, but in 2006 South Korea’s GDP rolled to $1.1 trillion, which puts it well within one of the dozen largest economies in the world. Therefore, the most valuable assets of South Korea are its experiences and exposure to making the transition from aid recipient to an emerging donor. The developing world is keen to replicate this model and the South Korean government has joined hands with them in providing opportunities through various programs under ODA.
In 1991, the Korea International Cooperation Agency was founded and was responsible for grant aid under the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade. It eventually started providing full-scale assistance for developing countries.
KOICAs mission statement is “Making a better world together,” which is a true reflection of its multifaceted endeavors. Among the programs carried out by the KOICA, training arranged in South Korea for international participants takes special attention in terms of making friends in the world.
The main reason is the participant’s own Korea experience, which drives them to frame an overall view about various aspects of the country. The participants invited to these training programs become ambassadors for South Korea. The reasons associated with this phenomenon are simple.
The caring and sharing environment they feel during their stay all contribute to creating a view and that Korea is dynamic and adorable. There hasn’t been one person who was invited to KOICA’s training program who did not speak highly of South Korea. KOICA is developing an international clout in support of South Korea.
The developing world is benefiting from Korean experiences through this training. Acquiring state-of-the-art concepts and technologies from advanced countries and developing them to the extent where they can enjoy their own competitive edge in the world market is the vision that these international participants are prepared to employ in their respective countries.
Given that these visitors from developing countries view Korea as a dynamic and adorable country, they see a remarkable success story. The KOICA has made great contributions through various human resource capacities and by building training programs arranged and managed in the Republic of Korea. Since 1991, approximately 32,200 participants from 164 countries have participated in various training courses offered by KOICA. It can be rightly said that KOICA is creating South Korean envoys for the world.
Ex-KOICA participant and management consultant in the public sector organization of Pakistan