Ahn Cheol-soo, center, dean of the Graduate School of Science Technology and Convergence at Seoul National University, answers questions from reporters at Incheon International Airport, Sunday, before leaving for the United States to have meetings with business leaders including Bill Gates. / Korea Times
By Kang Hyun-kyung
Ahn Cheol-soo, dean of the Graduate School of Convergence Technology and Science at Seoul National University, said Sunday he was thinking seriously about whether he would enter the political arena or not.
Before leaving Seoul for the United States at Incheon International Airport, Ahn was quoted by Yonhap as saying that he had thought deeply if he would be able to get through the challenges, which will unfold if he chooses to do so, without being distracted.
He admitted it was hard for him to make a decision about whether he would enter the political arena because the decision is a lot more complex than any he has made so far.
“When I quit being a doctor in the mid 1990s, the decision was relatively easy because I had researched computer viruses for a long time and I sort of had confidence that I could work hard. Doctors were many but computer virus experts were few back then,” Ahn said.
“But the decision about politics is different. First of all, there are many politicians. Second, it is totally different from what I have done so far. I am only doing guesswork. That’s all I can do for now.”
Ahn, founder of the anti-virus software producer AhnLab, was a frontrunner in recent public opinion polls of presidential hopefuls, followed by Park Geun-hye of the ruling Grand National Party (GNP).
He has not clarified whether he will run in the presidential election or not.
During the two-week U.S. trip, the IT mogul will meet billionaire philanthropist Bill Gates to seek his advice on the creation of a charity foundation. Last year, he committed to donating half of his AhnLab stock to establish a charity foundation to help children from working-class families.
Ahn said after watching Gates establish the Bill and Malinda Gates Foundation, he would have undergone a similar challenge.
“I believe he would have experienced trial and error in the beginning. Listening to his side of story could be very helpful for me,” the computer expert said.
His next stop on his two-week U.S. trip is San Francisco and Silicon Valley. Ahn is scheduled to meet Google Chairman Eric Schmidt to exchange views on the IT industry.
He will interview job candidates to select a professor for Seoul National University at Stanford and the University of California at Berkeley.