Former U.S. official to head green research center

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Former U.S. official to head green research center

A Seoul-based green-growth research center has appointed Richard Samans, a former White House official who now serves as the World Economic Forum’s (WEF) managing director, as its chief, the Blue House said Thursday.

The government launched the Global Green Growth Institute (GGGI) last year to map out strategy and policy to link greenhouse gas mitigation with economic growth and provide support for green-growth efforts in developing countries.

It plans to turn the institute into the first international body headquartered in South Korea by 2012.

Officials at the GGGI expect Samans to play a pivotal role in the development of the nascent organization, given his leadership and network, according to a Blue House press release.

“The leadership of Samans shown in his leading role at influential international organizations including WEF will become an important asset in the GGGI’s efforts to establish a strong global network and international status and become a world-level international organization,” said former Prime Minister Han Seung-soo, chairman of the board of directors at the GGGI.

Samans has been in charge of the WEF’s public-private initiatives and its relations with governments, international organizations, NGOs and other groups since 2001. He worked as special assistant to U.S. President Bill Clinton and senior director at the National Security Council from 1999 to 2001, both on international economic affairs.

More than 80 high-level officials at foreign governments and international organizations had shown an interest in the open bid to become the head of the GGGI, the Blue House said.

The GGGI named Jung Tae-yong, a senior economist at Asia Development Bank, as its deputy head. Jung is known for his expertise on climate change economics.

It also chose two new members of the board of directors - Montek Ahluwalia, deputy chairman of India’s planning commission, and Noeleen Heyzer, executive secretary of the Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific.

Members include Nicholas Stern, professor at the London School of Economics; Thomas Heller, professor at Stanford University; Korean Vice Foreign Minister Shin Kak-soo; and Kim Sang-hyup, a presidential secretary.

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