Chung Un-chan: A just, compassionate, dignified society is my vision

Former Prime Minister of the Republic of Korea, Dr. Chung Un-Chan said that a just, compassionate and dignified society is his vision. In an exclusive interview with The AsiaN, he noted that his views about life, living, governing and politics in Korea is to make it better and pleasurable for all. He further said “It is my wish and aim to have a just, compassionate and dignified society”.

This vision of a just, compassionate and dignified society of Dr. Chung must have served him as a motivator to engage in first the academics and next in politics. He was a professor and took his service to politics. On his political life and his resignation as the Prime Minister, Dr Chung stated that it would have been futile to hang in the position as his views and plans would not have been supported.

According to him, “I felt that I lacked the support of the leadership of the government and legislatures. Eventually, I came to feel that any other proposal that I would make will not be supported, so, I told the President and resigned. I thought it was the best thing to do for the love of my country”.

He noted that it will be unrewarding and disastrous for the people of Korea and himself to stay in a government when his wish and vision for them will not supported and will be hindered because of hatred from his peers or opposition from the opposition parties for political reasons.

He holds Manhae in high regard like any other Korean. He noted while answering a question about the significance of the Manhae awards that Manhae is a national hero and a nationalist who fought for the independence of Korea. He stated that Manhae was a human right activist, a revolutionist, a Buddhist scholar and a freedom fighter. In his words, “Manhae, in 1919 when there was a movement to gain independence from Japan, was the focal person and contributed immensely to the Independence of Korea.

He therefore considers the Manhae awards as very prestigious and important. He feels that it is an honor for anyone to receive such awards in Korea. This year’s Manhae’s noble peace prize winner is Akira from Cambodia. Dr Chung used the time to congratulate him for his great work in Cambodia and also on his prize.

Prior to his appointment as Seoul National University president, Chung was dean of the college of social sciences in the first half of 2002. From 1993 to 1994, he was associate dean at the college. Dr. Chung was a visiting associate professor at the University of Hawaii in 1983, a visiting scholar at the London School of Economics from 1986 to 1987, and a visiting professor at Ruhr-Universitat Bochum (Germany) in 1999. Dr. Chung earned a B.A. in economics at Seoul National University in 1970, and an M.A. in economics at Miami University (Ohio) in 1972. In 1978, Dr. Chung was awarded a PhD in economics at Princeton University. In October 2004, Dr. Chung was awarded an honorary degree in international education at the Far Eastern National University in Vladivostok, Russia. Dr. Chung continues to write and conduct research in macroeconomics and financial markets. He has numerous publications in both Korean and English.

Dr. Chung held senior positions in government commissions and private research institutions. In 2002, Dr. Chung was Chairman of the Committee on National Pension Development. From 2000 to 2001, he served as Chairman of the Financial Development Committee at the Ministry of Finance and Economy. Since 1996, Dr. Chung has served as Director of the Suam Educational and Cultural Foundation. From 1998 to 2001, Dr. Chung was Director of the Korea Council of Economic and Social Research Institutes. And from 1998 to 1999, Dr. Chung was President of the Korean Money and Finance Association. In addition, Dr. Chung was a senior advisor for the Seoul Metropolitan Government’s Policy Advisory Committee from 1995 to 1997.

Dr. Chung began his academic career as a business associate and assistant professor at Columbia University from 1976 to 1978. After three years of teaching Money and Financial Markets at the University, Dr. Chung returned to Seoul National University in late 1978, where he has taught for 27 years on the faculty of economics.

*Dr. Chung Un-chan was born on February 29, 1946 in Gongju Chungcheongnam-do, South Korea. He was the Prime Minister of South Korea from 2009 to 2010. He was also a professor of Seoul National University from 1978 to 2009, serving as the president of the university from July 2002 to July 2006.

Uwalaka Temple U.B Intern Reporter

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