Students highlight strengths of Korean development model
By Kim Young-jin
Students from emerging nations, attending the International Conference on the Occasion of the Seoul G20 Summit, Thursday highlighted Korea’s potential to share its development model, stressing the importance of localization to fit the needs of individual nations.
In addition to diplomats, professors and experts from here and abroad, some one hundred students attended the event co-hosted by the Korea Institute of Public Administration (KIPA) and The Korea Times, which elucidated the elements of Korea’s growth from a recipient of aid to a major donor.
“I was hoping to learn more about how Korea rose from poverty to riches,” Rindia Permatasari, an Indonesian exchange student at Hanyang University, told The Korea Times.
“The togetherness of the people and their shared vision to overcome poverty can be a role model for developing countries,” she said.
Karol Jacewicz, a Polish management student at Hankuk University of Foreign Studies, underscored the importance of localization, saying, “If scholars get to know how (the development) worked in Korea, they can come up with plans for their own nations.
“By changing it to fit their needs it could work in helping their country develop better.”
Kenza Elazkem, a student from Morrocco who came here to study Korean growth, said in many respects the model fits her country, but added a caveat.
“Economically and politically, it fits very well. But for my country, the growth should not happen so quickly,” she said citing the potential for overdevelopment and overdependence on technology.
Other students represented countries such as Cameroon, China, Russia, Spain, Germany and Italy.
While expert discussants extolled the benefits of the rapid growth, they also mentioned some negative effects, including corruption.
Some students, such as Zivile Kontrimaite from Lithuania, weighed the good with the bad. “The work of chaebol has been the driving force of development. But we must ask, ‘Is corruption a good thing?”
Their assessment came ahead of Seoul’s hosting of the G20 summit that opens Nov. 11, where Korea hopes to play a bridging role between the advanced and developing worlds.
Diplomats in attendance from developing countries were also positive about the development model.
“Korea is a critical example for mid-sized countries,” said Charitha Yattogoda, commercial counselor for the Sri Lankan embassy here. “It’ll be great if we can use your experience in our development.”