Diplomatic academy opens
By Chung Min-uck
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade opened the Korea National Diplomatic Academy (KNDA), Tuesday, a state-run academy in charge of recruiting and training career diplomats. The ministry has so far recruited diplomats through the decades-old written exams.
The KNDA is to start recruiting applicants next year to secure a pool of trained diplomats who can serve from 2014. The relevant bill for establishing the KNDA passed the National Assembly last July.
“The key to strengthening nation’s diplomacy is to have excellent human resources,” said Foreign Minister Kim Sung-hwan, in his welcoming address at the opening ceremony held at the academy’s building in Seocho-dong, southern Seoul. “Unlike the former written exam in recruiting diplomats, the new admission system will allow talented people with regional expertise and a variety of experience to become diplomats. The admission test will also evaluate applicants’ comprehensive diplomatic skills rather than memorized knowledge.”
Following the launch of the academy, the current government-administered foreign services exam will be abolished starting 2014.
The move comes as the test, launched in 1968, has long been criticized for failing to secure personnel diversity in the nation’s diplomacy.
Experts believe the new system will help the government better staffed with experts from various fields.
Prime Minister Kim Hwang-sik and Kim Byung-kook, the inaugural chancellor of the KNDA, also attended the ceremony to celebrate the opening of the academy.
“The security and foreign diplomacy issue in North East Asia is changing drastically, and the change demands a new paradigm in diplomacy,” said Kim. “The KNDA will contribute in strengthening the competency of the nation’s diplomacy.”