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PhD Graduate Mekuria Teklemariam Inspired to Better Serve Ethiopia
Ethiopia’s Former Minister of Urban Development and Housing Mekuria Teklemariam became a KAIST alumnus, earning his PhD in the Global IT Technology Program (ITTP) last month. Dr. Telkemariam completed his degree summa cum laude in business administration in four years. He is the highest-ranking official among the ITTP Program recipients. Dr. Teklemarian cited the ‘Saemaul Undong,’ also known as the New Community Movement as well as the strong infrastructure of IT industry as part of the driving forces behind Korea’s rapid economic success and this inspired him to choose KAIST as his academic destination. The Global ITTP was launched in 2006 to educate elite public officials from diverse countries on information and communication technology. This program has played a vital role in transferring Korea’s advanced information and communications technology to many countries whose industries are in the budding stages. Approximately 200 officials from over 50 countries have enrolled in the ITTP program, and the program has expanded to cover diverse areas of ICT and grown into a global network of ICT leaders abroad. The 2020 Class graduated five PhDs and five master’s degree holders. Dr. Teklemariam plans to benchmark Korea to aid the development of Ethiopia when he returns home. “Korea is a country that has made remarkable progress in all areas including politics and economics in the last few decades, emerged from one of the poorest countries in the 1960s to be among the largest economies in the world today,” Dr. Telkemariam said. “So I wanted to study what transformed Korea to make such a miraculous transformation academically for my country’s own development too,” he added, explaining his motivation to study in Korea. He also cited diverse IT education programs for the elderly as a Korean policy he would like to see applied in his country. The 50-year-old former minister and incumbent urban affairs advisor to the prime minister of Ethiopia was elected to the country's parliament a decade ago, becoming the youngest member in Ethiopian history. He has led the economic development of Ethiopia in the areas of smart city development, land management, and housing development policies. While studying at KAIST, Dr. Telkemariam became the two-time winner of the Outstanding Collaborative Research Award presented by the KAIST Institute for IT Convergence through collaborative research with the National IT Industry Promotion Agency (NIPA) and the Science and Technology Policy Institute (STEPI). In addition, his graduation thesis, "Differentiating mobile broadband policies across diffusion stages: A panel data analysis" was published in Telecommunications Policy. President Sung-Chul Shin met with him during a luncheon meeting before he returned to home. During the meeting Dr. Telkemariam said, “I was impressed by the Korean people, who not only work hard to do their part wherever they are, but also put whatever they say into practice. I will apply and practice what I have learned from Korea and KAIST to Ethiopia.” President Shin responded, “We shall seek to find ways to cooperate that can be practically used to expand exchanges between the two countries.”
2017 World Friends ICT KAIST Sets Off to Ethiopia, Tanzania
KAIST launched the ‘2017 World Friends ICT KAIST’ on 21 June at a ceremony held at the Faculty Club. The event was attended by 40 student volunteers and faculty members including President Sung-Chul Shin and student volunteers. The ‘2017 World Friends ICT KAIST’ is an oversees volunteer program aimed at providing ICT education for students from developing countries and for cultural exchange. The program was organized by the KAIST Leadership Center and sponsored by the National Information Agency (NIA) since 2015. President Sung-Chul Shin delivered words of encouragement to start the opening ceremony, followed by an oath-taking by the volunteer group, safety training, and a commemorative photoshoot. This year’s World Friends ICT volunteer group consisted of 32 students and 2 staff members to lead and to support the team. The group was divided into eight teams including APP-frica, KAI-Tigers, and WITH (4 members per team) to volunteer in Addis Ababa Institute of Technology (AAIT) and Adama Science and Technology University in Ethiopia (ASTU), as well as Nelson Mandela African Institute of Science and Technology (NM-AIST) in Tanzania. The teams will educate local students on ICT and promote cultural exchanges. The volunteer period is from July 7 to August 5, lasting about a month. KAIST conducted primary document examinations and interviews from April 27 to May 18 on volunteer candidates who registered to take part, and selected 32 student volunteers. A total of 68 students registered to volunteer, resulting in a 1:2.1 competition rate. The volunteering program was customized to the local needs of Ethiopia and Tanzania and thus consisted of ICT education, cultural exchanges, volunteering at farms on the weekends, and science experiments. The area with the most focus by the volunteer team is ICT education, which accounts for 70% of the total volunteer activities. The aim is to educate Ethiopian students at AAIT and ASTU on Windows, MS Office, Adobe Photoshop, and using smartphones. In Tanzania, the team is to volunteer with students of NM-AIST to provide ICT application education such as water tank control using appropriate technology and Arduino to local high school students. The team is also planning to promote cultural exchanges by preparing K-Pop dancing, traditional Korean games such as Korean shuttlecock game (jegichagi) and Korean wrestling (ssireum), traditional cooking such as bibimbab and half-moon-shaped rice cake (songpyeon), and teaching the Korean language, as well as preparing cultural performances with local university students. On the weekends, the team will visit local farms to volunteer, and local elementary schools and orphanages to conduct science experiments for children, as well as physical education and art activities. (Photo caption: Volunteers poses with faculty and staff members including President Sung-Chul Shin at a ceremony on June 21.)
Professor Lee to Head the Addis Ababa Institute of Technology
Emeritus Professor In Lee of the Department of Aerospace Engineering at KAIST was appointed to the post of President of the Addis Ababa Institute of Technology (AAiT) in Ethiopia. His term will begin on August 1, 2016 and end on July 31, 2018, which can be extended up to five years. AAiT is an affiliated institute of Addis Ababa University, a distinguished national university in Ethiopia, and specializes in education and research in engineering and technology. There are currently 5,500 undergraduate and 4,500 graduate students enrolled at the institute. The Ethiopian government has recognized the importance of science and technology for the future of the country. The government intends to develop AAiT into a distinguished research university similar to KAIST, and thus sought advice from KAIST to recommend an administrator who will head AAiT. Upon recommendation by KAIST President Steve Kang, Professor Lee was appointed. Professor Lee graduated from Seoul National University with bachelor's and master’s degrees in aeronautical engineering and earned his Ph.D. in aeronautics from Stanford University. He has served as the President of The Korean Society for Aeronautics and Space Sciences, the Director of the KAIST Satellite Technology Research Center, and a Research Associate at NASA Ames Research Center.
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