Costa Rican delegates along with members of the KDI after a conference
on March 7th at Korea Creativity and Science Foundation
Korea Development Institute(KDI), an institute located in Sejong city, Korea has been working as a think tank in economic and international development sector over 40 years. One big part of its role is to cooperate with other nations, and seek for mutual growth.
This year, KDI has teamed up with Costa Rica. Costa Rican government officials including archaeologists, economists, professors and government affairs coordinators were invited to Korea on March 5th, to discuss ‘Knowledge Sharing Program’ that the two countries have been working on. The program is designed by KDI and Korean government to provide policy advice to foreign countries.
While having curiosity ‘why the officials from Costa Rica chose Korea as its partner,’ I had a chance to meet two of them, asking a few questions about their visit.
Q: Please tell us more about this program. What is the purpose of this, and why Korea?
“Overall, the grand purpose of the trip was to innovate Costa Rica, to improve its economy and most importantly, due to concerns over sluggish export. We turned directly to Korea, because it has evolved from one of the poorest countries in the globe to one of the biggest economies just within 30 years, and we want to know how.” said John Hewitt, a policy consultant from Costa Rica, as well as an archaeologist.
Q: As far as I know, Costa Rican economy has performed fairly well, showing 4.9 percent average growth rate from 2011 to the present (World Bank, 2015)*. However, it seems like your government worries about the export, why
“Yes, that is true. Future may not be as bright as it has been recently unless we raise more mathematicians, scientists and engineers. The problem is, the country does not have sufficient resources to foster talents in those fields. Additionally, there are not many Costa Rican youngsters and teenagers who are interested in science or math. In that, decline in the number of mathematicians, scientists, and engineers is expected. And this would eventually turn the tables, the economy heading downhill,” stated Carolina Vasquez, Undersecretary of MICITT(Ministry of Science and Technology).
Q: Can you illustrate further on the relationship between technology power and export?
“Export would shrink if the country is incapable of producing original technology, for Costa Rica is one of the few countries in Latin America with an advanced economy, meaning that it needs to provide technology to others in the region. Also, without technological power developed and honed on its own, Costa Rica would have no choice but to import technology from foreign nations, resulting in huge increase in national debt,” added Mr. Hewitt.
The interview concluded like this. It was a great time meeting with Mr. Hewitt and Ms. Vasquez.
Overall, the Costa Rican professionals came to Korea in order to figure out ways to cultivate math and science talents, ultimately to bolster nation’s technology power and export. Taking this year’s program as a milestone, I hope Costa Rica to succeed in fostering eminent figures in math, science and engineering fields. Furthermore, it would be great if relationship between Korea and Costa Rica continues and later on, mathematicians, scientists and engineers of the countries would cooperate and achieve notable progress that would amuse the whole world.
Asia Pacific International School
Matthew Choi firstname.lastname@example.org
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