By Alexander Tehoon Ahn
Kim Sun-young, a medical professor at Chungnam National University has become the president of Uganda¡¯s Kumi University following 13 years of volunteer service.
According to Chungnam National University officials, Prof. Kim was inaugurated as the president of the Ugandan university on March 17. He is now looking to set up a medical college at the school.
Kumi University is located in a rural district, 3,000 kilometers northeast of Uganda¡¯s capital city of Kampala.
In 1999, Food for the Hungry, an international relief and development organization, reported that approximately 700 to 800 students attended school in the area, from elementary to college levels.
Professor Kim started his relationship with Uganda in the same year. His first meeting with Kumi University¡¯s faculty, including its president, happened early that year when he started medical relief work in the East African nation.
In 2000, he organized a 16-member team to help improve poor public health and the medical environment of Kumi.
In 2008, the Korean university located in Yuseong, South Chungcheong Province, invited Ugandan cancer patients to receive surgery and radiation therapy at its hospital.
In addition, the school provided two Ugandans with advanced medical training in 2009 and 2011.
Since February 2009, the two universities have expanded exchanges under cooperation agreements.
Kim is trying to create a college of medicine at the university to cultivate doctors so that they can take care of Ugandans suffering from different illnesses.
He is also making efforts to get the Ugandan government¡¯s approval for the establishment of the medical college. In addition, Kim plans to sign an agreement with Chungnam National University next month to promote exchanges of professors between the two schools.
On Monday, Kim stressed the need for improvements in higher education in Uganda. He said, ¡°Although some Ugandan students enroll in Uganda¡¯s universities, most leave the country to study abroad. This is especially true for students in rural areas like Kumi. We will continue to build the necessary human resources training system for them.¡±
The writer is an intern for The Korea Times.