A retired professor of Seoul National University has been appointed president of Adama Science and Technology University in Ethiopia, making him the first South Korean university president in Africa.
Lee Jang-gyu, 65, former professor of electrical engineering, is expected to begin his five-year term in October.
The appointment was made after the Ethiopian human affairs minister proposed to a South Korean policy adviser to their government that a Korean professor take the helm of Adama University.
“I thought the proposal reflected Ethiopia’s willingness to achieve economic development and follow Korea’s economic development model,” said Lee. “The country also thought highly of Koreans’ efforts to develop from an underdeveloped country into an advanced one.”
Recommended by the policy advisor, Lee decided to accept the offer when he visited Ethiopia in June. “The passion and willingness of the Ethiopian government to overcome poverty by following Korea’s economic development model moved me,” said Lee.
He also said that he was impressed by the friendliness toward South Korea, on whose side Ethiopia fought in the Korean War. Lee added that the country’s education minister watches Korean TV programs on weekends.
Adama University is the second-biggest university in Ethiopia. It has about 20,000 students and 1,000 faculty members. Lee plans to lay the foundation for the school to function as a science and technology institute which can produce talented scientists. Lee also will seek to exchange professors between Adama and SNU.
He was professor of the electronic engineering department of Seoul National University from 1982 until August. As an expert in navigation guidance and control, that is the design of systems to control the movement of vehicles, Lee received an engineering professor award from SNU. He holds a Ph.D. in electronic engineering from the University of Pittsburgh.
By Lee Woo-young (firstname.lastname@example.org)