South Korean government sponsors students at Cornell

Up to three South Korean government employees per year will pursue a Master of Public Administration (MPA) degree at Cornell, according to a new memorandum of understanding (MOU) between the Korea International Cooperation Agency (KOICA) and the Cornell Institute for Public Affairs (CIPA).

Under the agreement, KOICA returned volunteers – participants in South Korea’s equivalent to the Peace Corps program – may also complete MPA studies at Cornell.

“I’m delighted with this arrangement,” said CIPA Director Sharon Tennyson, who was in Seoul for the Oct. 26 MOU signing. “The CIPA team will be moving forward with recruitment efforts to bring the first KOICA cohort to study at Cornell in fall 2016.”

“Korea is a very impressive partner to be working with,” Tennyson added, citing the country’s rapid development of infrastructure in the past 50 years and its commitment to aid other countries. “As a culture, they have a philosophy of service and cooperation – traits that our MPA program looks for in potential students and which our staff and faculty strive to foster further in our current students.”

In remarks at the MOU signing, KOICA Director General Jin-Oh Kim acknowledged the symbiotic nature of the collaboration. “I believe that through this partnership with Cornell and CIPA, KOICA personnel and KOICA returned volunteers’ practical experience will be developed with and supported by academic knowledge [from] CIPA,” he said.

CIPA has been working with government officials in South Korea for the past five years, sending a class of students each fall to participate in a comparative public administration case study focused on Seoul.

Tennyson, professor of policy analysis and management, said the opportunity arose after CIPA’s recent move into the College of Human Ecology. Hyuncheol Bryant Kim, a native of South Korea and assistant professor in policy analysis and management, contacted CIPA about a potential collaboration with KOICA and made introductions. Kim attended the MOU signing and offered remarks on behalf of Human Ecology Dean Alan Mathios.

“From its earliest days, the College of Human Ecology has sought to make a global impact by leading research, developing programs, and guiding students at home and abroad,” said Mathios. “Our success in fulfilling the college’s outreach mission depends on strong collaborations with international partners. This MOU presents a tremendous opportunity for CIPA to create a new partnership that extends the college’s work more broadly and promotes greater exchange of ideas and learning.”

Lisa Jervey Lennox is CIPA assistant director for external relations.

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Melissa Osgood