YOGYAKARTA – Universitas Gadjah Mada conferred Doctor Honoris Causa award in social development on Kim Kwan-Yong, Governor of Gyeongsangbuk-do, South Korea Selatan, for his outstanding achievements in the Saemaul Undong movement to alleviate poverty of the rural communities in Korea. During his three terms of service, Kim Kwan-Yong has been able to design public policy based on the Saemaul Undong for poverty alleviation in the province of Gyeongsangbuk-do.
In his remarks, Kim said that 70 years ago Korea was one of the poorest countries in the world, but now it has emerged as an advanced country with income per capita USD28 thousands. “What makes Korea it is now is the concept of Saemaul undong,” said Kim Kwan-Yong after the conferment of the degree at the Senate Hall UGM on Tuesday (1/9).
According to Kim, the Saemaul Undong concept has been in application since the 60’s but it is still relevant today amidst the poverty and hunger issues around the world due to non-sustainable economic development. “The concept of Saemaul undong has made Korea able to alleviate poverty and now one of the reference of the world.”
Kim said he had worked with nine countries and 27 villages in poverty alleviation efforts. He further appreciated the concept of Trisakti initiated by the late President Soekarno that is now re-introduced by President Joko Widodo. In his opinion, the concepts of Trisakti and Saemaul Undong are two concepts that can strengthen bilateral relations.
“In the future, cooperations in culture, agriculture, science and industry between the two countries will strengthen,” he said.
Chair of promoters of the degree award, Prof. Dr. Moh. Mochtar Masoed, said the Saemaul undong during Kim Kwan-yong’s term not only implemented in his province, but also spread to education sector. “He has been able to develop learning institutions of the Saemul Undong concept internationally, able to spread to other countries through academic mechanism and development scheme,” he said.
Rector of UGM, Prof. Ir. Dwikorita Karnawati, M.Sc., Ph.D., said the award conferment this time was the 23rd awarded to national and international figures.