New Leader of the Hanlim Academy
Professor Kwon O-kyung (Department of Electronic Engineering)
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In the 21st century where science is becoming the touchstone of indicating the future, there are 38 National Academies of Engineering around the world, putting in their endeavors to vitalize scientific development. Out of the 38 academies, only 28 are officially authorized National Academies. Among them, the National Academy of Engineering of Korea (NAEK), also called the Hanlim Academy, is in the lead of scientific development. Professor Kwon O-kyung of the Department of Electronic Engineering has been newly appointed as the president of NAEK and is envisioning the bright future of science in South Korea.
The Hanlim Academy and the promising future
The NAEK, or the Hanlim Academy, is composed of 291 industrial CEOs and professors with authorities in the engineernig academia. Due to the popularity of engineering field and people's desire to enter the academy, there are 260 more candidate members other than 291 regular members. The official role of the Hanlim Academy is to map out the future of South Korea in regards to the engineering science field.
Representative work of the NAEK is consulting and giving advice to the government about engineering and scientific policies. “The Hanlim Academy prepares the draft for policy plans every five years when the new government is ready to be established,” said Kwon. The main concerns of the Academy are increasing the possibility for job creation and augmenting the rate of economic growth from the current 4.5% to 9%. Kwon expects that the engineering field will contribute the most to augmentating the of economic growth of South Korea in the next few years.
Also, the unification of the two Koreas is a major interest of the Academy, since ample resources and radical development in science will meet along with the unification in due course. Thus, the NAEK is currently researching North Korea's social overhead capital (SOC) in order to correctly identify how the two Koreas’ capitals are being established, and how the North Korean economy can be succored through engineering and scientific aid. “If South Korea is not knowledgeable enough about North Korea before the unification, it will incur disasters such as the spread of infectious diseases through North Korea’s peculiar living accommodations and ongoing chemical research. Thus researching about North Korea in advance with regards to unification is extremely vital,” emphasized Kwon.
Key to a successful life
Professor Kwon also accentuated the importance of living a well-regulated life and the willpower to achieve the goal of one’s life. Until this moment, of having become the president of the NAEK, Kwon has crossed many paths. Once he graduated from Hanyang University in electronic engineering, Kwon attended Stanford University for his Master's and Ph.D. degrees. He subsequently joined Texas Instruments, a semiconductor manufacturing company, at the process and design center.
In 1992, many professors at Hanyang University solicited for Kwon's return for him to contribute as an educator and a scientist. However, when Kwon submitted his resignation, Texas Instrument turned it down every year. Even when Kwon came to Hanyang University to pursue his academic career as a professor, Texas Instrument did not accept his resignation for 10 years. Kwon has also successfully filled various posts in the engineering academia, including the president of Korean Information Display Society and the vice-president of the Engineering Department at Hanyang University.
To the question of how he maintains such a successful life, Kwon answer was the "maintenance of a busy life and willpower". “When I decided to enroll in the doctoral program at Stanford University, I slept three hours a day and spent the rest of my time to study,” said Kwon. Even though this sort of commitment was hard to keep up, after about six months, he was able to maintain such a lifestyle for 40 years up until now. According to Kwon, a steady lifestyle is the key to success, and the will to study and learn more about the field is the most critical attribute to securing a rewarding life.
Kwon's ultimate goal is to make Korea a country that is full of chances and competence. “I have always pondered about the Korean education system since I was a university student. South Korea tries to inject too many subjects into students' heads, and this will only result in lining them into a ragged line of test scores. Korea needs to become a nation where everyone can be the leader of each specific field, meaning that everyone deserves to discover what they are intelligent in, instead of studying a lot of uninterested subjects at once,” said Kwon. He is currently looking to achieving this objective at the National Academy of Engineering of Korea by reforming the education system in the field of science.
Kim Ju-hyun firstname.lastname@example.org
Photo by Choi Min-ju
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