Foreign city government officials have earned master’s degrees in Seoul city administration after studying the Korean capital’s developmental know-how and administrative experience for 25 months.
A total 19 officials from eight cities ― Bangkok, Ulan Bator, Taipei, Hanoi, Beijing, Jakarta, San Paolo and Istanbul ― have completed the Seoul city administration master’s degree program and recently presented their master’s theses, Seoul Metropolitan Government said Tuesday.
The city officials started the 13-month course in 2009 at the Graduate School of Policy Studies of Korea University, which runs the program with the Seoul Metropolitan Government, and spent a year in their home countries writing a thesis, which compares administration between Seoul and their home cities.
Monkiatkul Chantira, 45, from Bangkok wrote her dissertation on tourism strategy: “Although tourists visiting Thailand have decreased in number due to political unrest and the financial crisis in 2008, tourists coming to Seoul have been increasing continuously thanks to the city’s efforts to establish tourism infrastructure and create many cultural activities.”
Marta Goncalves from Sao Paolo compared park management of his home city with Seoul; Huang Shu Shu from Beijing compared urban economic development between Seoul and Beijing.
Seoul launched the master’s degree program for city officials in developing countries in 2008 to pass on its experience in city development and management strategy. Under the program, foreign civil servants will take courses at a university in Seoul for 13 months and devote another year to writing their dissertations on returning to their home cities.
About 83 percent of them said the master’s program has been a great help to their public service and 95 percent strongly recommended the program to colleagues, Seoul officials said.
“Seoul has created the program to promote the development model of Korea’s capital city to foreign countries and strengthen cooperation between foreign cities and Seoul,” said Kim Jin-man, city official for international cooperation. “Seoul will be able to cement its status as one of the leading cities in Asia while expanding cooperation with many foreign cities.”
So far, 56 civil servants from 37 countries have received master’s degrees through the program and another group of 18 officials are expected to enter the program in August.
By Lee Woo-young (email@example.com