The KDI School said that Ambachew Mekonnen, who earned a master’s degree in public policy in 2000, is its first non-Korean graduate who has assumed a ministerial position.

By Lee Hyo-sik |

An Ethiopian graduate of the Korea Development Institute (KDI) School of Public Policy and Management has become a minister in his home country, the state-funded school said Tuesday.

The KDI School said that Ambachew Mekonnen, who earned a master’s degree in public policy in 2000, is its first non-Korean graduate who has assumed a ministerial position.

Ambachew Mekonnen, who was appointed minister of construction in Ethiopia last October, enrolled in the KDI School in 1999. According to the school, he earned 39 credits and received a 3.67 grade point average out of 4.0. He then went on to the U.K. to earn his Ph.D.

Last December, Ambachew Mekonnen hosted a Korean delegation headed by Kim Kyung-hwan, vice minister of land, infrastructure and transport. At the meeting, the minister shared his experiences in Korea with the delegate.

When contacted by The Korea Times, the minister said his experience with the KDI School has driven him to aim high and achieve professional success.

“My stay in Korea during the academic year 1999-2000 was a wonderful experience in my life, changing the way I looked at things and still inspires me to work hard under Korea’s ‘Can Do’ spirit,” Ambachew Mekonnen said. “Undoubtedly, one of the main contributing factors toward my career evolution as an economist and politician is the inspirational lessons I learned at the KDI School.”

The minister said he has been talking with his colleagues about Koreans’ diligence, thriftiness and hierarchical loyalty.

“My country is striving to follow the Korean model of development,” he said. “I have been speaking a lot about Korea’s miraculous economic performance with the astonishing features of rapid economic growth coupled with declining income inequality.”

Ambachew Mekonnen said he will try to strengthen the relationship between the two historically and sisterly related nations. “I will also do my best to actively participate in the major events of the alumni from the KDI School of Public Policy and Management.”

The KDI School, established in 1998, offers three master’s programs ― public policy, development policy and public management ― and a Ph.D. program in public policy and development policy. All lectures are offered in English.

Korean students can enroll in a global master’s program in which they complete the first year at the school and the second year at a partner institution of their choice abroad.

Currently, 386 students are enrolled in KDI School programs. Of the 386, 194 are non-Koreans from 70 countries in Asia, Africa and South America, most of whom are public-sector employees. The school has 75 faculty members and 92 administrative staff.

The KDI School is currently receiving applications from those seeking to enroll for the fall semester through May 25. For more information, visit its website at www.kdischool.ac.kr.

Source: The Korea Times
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