President Dong Yeon Kim is a preacher of “Pleasant Innovations.” He says that innovation is the expression of a strong determination to overcome and change the current reality, and he stresses that there should be sound innovations of our environment, ourselves, and our society. According to him, everything is “pleasant” when people do it because they like to, instead of being directed by others. He enjoys communicating this message with young people.
This belief held by President Kim is represented in his life and his 32-year service as a public official. As the press put it, “He did not have three things in life ─ money, education, and a human network, but he did have three things ─ dreams, enthusiasm, and the willingness and action to change society.” Due to the financial difficulties of his family, President Kim spent his school years in an unauthorized shack near the Cheonggye Stream in Seoul and then in a tent after even the shack was torn down. Due to financial hardship, after entering Deoksu Commercial High School, he was forced to leave before graduating as he had to begin working at a company. He attended Kukje College at night after work, and in the year of his graduation, he passed both the Higher Administrative Officials Recruitment Test and the Higher Legislative Officials Recruitment Test, becoming known as ‘a legendary high-school graduate.’ His self-innovation and bold acceptance of academic challenges did not stop after that: he obtained his master’s degree from the Graduate School of Public Administration at Seoul National University and then received master and doctoral degrees in Policy Studies from the University of Michigan thanks to a scholarship from the Korean Government and a U.S. government Fulbright Scholarship.
Since beginning his public service as an officer at the Economic Planning Board, President Kim has strived to bring sound innovation to our society with the philosophy of “contributing to social change.” He considers himself as a scholar majoring in policy-making theory, doing his utmost to be involved in the real world’s policy making and implementation to address our economic and social issues. He led the development of “Vision 2030,” the first long-term national development strategy of the Korean government, and contributed to overcoming the economic crisis during the Global Financial Crisis as the Secretary to the President for Economy and Financial Affairs. He worked hard to maintain the financial soundness of the government while serving as Head of the Budget Office and as Vice Minister at the Ministry of Strategy and Finance, which is in charge of drawing up and allocating the national budget. As Minister for Government Policy Coordination, he was responsible for overseeing the coordination of major government tasks and different ministries, and he chaired the Vice Presidents’ Meeting, which is the deliberation body under the Cabinet Meeting. President Kim received the Red Stripes Order of Service Merit for his contributions during his career as a public official.
In addition, President Kim has a deep understanding and interest in globalization, social mobility, and literature and culture. He has actively participated in international cooperation projects and research while working as a visiting professor at the School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS) of the Johns Hopkins University in the U.S. and as a project manager at the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD), etc. He has regularly given lectures and participated in volunteer activities, etc. to create the ladders of social mobility for underprivileged young people and to ultimately make our society healthier. He enjoys reading translated classics of the East and West, including novels; watching movies and plays and musicals in smaller theaters; and writing. He has long been a contributor of articles to daily newspapers.


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