Professor Nam advocates sharing in new social paradigm
Professor Nam advocates sharing in new social paradigm
  • Jang Ji-won
  • 승인 2014.03.02 09:33
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Professor Nam Young-sook (Gradate School of International Studies) stresses the importance of shared life and community. Photo by Jang Ji-won.
Nowadays, as nations interact frequently in a global and international sense, more people are becoming interested in international organizations. However, years before this boom of interest, professor Nam Young-sook (Graduate School of International Studies) had started working in such organizations in the 1990s.After she began her career in ILO (International Labor Organization), Nam went on to become the first Korean to advance into OECD and the first Korean to receive tenure there. During her first career in ILO, Nam contributed in international political measures about issues such as unemployment and income inequality. “I was always interested in development economics,” Nam said. “I wanted to globally expand Korea’s poverty problems and make global links. I also wanted to personally carry out policy-related works.” In OECD, Nam reviewed Korea’s situation. Her policy recommendations about how Korea should act in the future were chosen numerous times, which the Korean government often accepted. According to Nam, as opposed to people’s common thoughts that cultural knowledge about developed countries is very important to work in international organizations, it is more crucial for and demanded of Koreans to know thoroughly about Korea and Asia. Understanding and experiencing Korea’s issues, political tasks and history become the basis of Koreans and acquire valuable assets. Moreover, Nam warns against the mistaken concepts and fantasies about international organizations, often followed by blind pursuit to work there. “International organizations are simply a large bureaucratic organization,” Nam said. “Thus, it is very bureaucratic, and working there is just like working as a public servant.” After roaming around the globe in international organizations, Nam returned to Korea and worked in government agencies. Her most notable work would be acting as a negotiator for Korea’s FTA with counterparts such as the United States, EU and ASEAN. “Negotiating for the FTA was the most memorable thing during my career in government agencies,” Nam remarked. “It is all about how to get what I want. The key tip in doing so is 3P: Preparation, Preparation and Preparation.” Nam further advocates women negotiators, commenting that negotiating is a field where women can be good at and that there are too few women negotiators in Korea. “Women can excel in negotiation because it requires competences such as elaborate logic, persistence, delicacy and emotion control,” Nam said. As a public servant, Nam came to feel the limited sphere of activity, leading her to change her career once again to become a professor at Ewha. Although Nam’s career changes may seem drastic, Nam has certain standards when making career choices. Her three main values are: whether it is fun, meaningful and challenging. Being a professor at Ewha certainly fits those values, especially more so as professor Nam established Ewha’s Center for Global Social Responsibility. The purpose of the center is to raise students in a new social paradigm, which pursues qualitative happiness and social symbiosis. There have been many difficulties for the center as thoughts and understandings about social responsibility have yet to be activated in Korea. The center had to pioneer into this new field, which made the task more challenging. “In Korea, people do not easily understand the necessity of a system for community,” Nam said. “Still, things are changing a lot. And after the global economic crisis, all nations realized that the old model is not viable anymore. More inclusive, shared growth should be pursued within communities.” The Residential College program pursues similar values of shared life and community as the center, so it may not come as a surprise that Nam was assigned to be its first master professor. Nam proceeded with the program while thinking how she would want to spend her freshman year in university. She planned for various communal activities such as doing volunteer works, meeting interesting alumni and having birthday parties together. “It is an innovation in the education of university students, and it provides students with things that were not provided before,” Nam said. “After students participate in RC during their first year, they will be able to spend the rest of their university life differently.” The RC program provides students with a sense of belonging, with communities comprised of professors, senior students and peers. Nam advises university students to really think about their life and what they should pursue. “Today, most students are wrapped up in ridiculous competitions they may not even truly want,” Nam said. “They should take charge in their life and wisely consider what values they pursue and what kind of life they want to live. Find companions to think about these problems with and do not be caught up in your own world. Also, fully enjoy the merits of being a student.”

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