CPS Sustainable Urban Planning Program signs formal agreement to share research, teaching knowledge with Korean Research Institute on Human Settlements.
By Jay Conley
The deep ties between the George Washington University and the Republic of South Korea were strengthened Thursday with the formation of a partnership between GW’s College of Professional Studies Sustainable Urban Planning Program and the Korean Research Institute on Human Settlements (KRIHS).
GW Provost Steven Lerman and KRIHS President Yang Ho Park participated in a formal ceremony in which they signed a memorandum of understanding to collaborate on mutually beneficial research and teaching activities focused on sustainable urban development.
“This is an exciting step in the further globalization of George Washington University,” said Dr. Lerman.
GW’s relationship with Korea dates back to the late 1800s, when Philip Jaisohn, a well-known social and political reformer, earned a medical degree in 1892. About 270 students from South Korea are attending George Washington today, and the country is home to nearly 1,000 GW alumni, the most alumni in any overseas country. Earlier this year, GW hosted the third Global Forum in Seoul.
In partnership with KRIHS, GW will send a studio class focused on sustainable development practices to Seoul in May for site visits and research presentations.
Established in 1978, KRIHS is a nonprofit research organization that promotes the efficient use and preservation of land resources and conducts policy research on a wide range of urban affairs. In 2010, KRIHS formed the Global Development Partnership Center (GDPC) to work with international agencies—among them the World Bank—to promote economic development and the improvement of human settlements in developing countries.
“I sincerely hope this [agreement] will provide us with a variety of opportunities” for an exchange of internship programs, faculty and staff research, and other mutually beneficial programs, said Dr. Park. “I will support fully the George Washington University’s efforts.”
Created last fall, GW’s 48-credit Master of Professional Studies degree in sustainable urban planning is designed for professionals in urban planning and policy in the public and private sectors, and for those involved in environmental policy and advocacy, economic development, real estate development and the broader universe of "green" industries.
Prior to Thursday’s ceremony, Dr. Park was in Washington, D.C., this week for the annual meeting between KRIHS and the World Bank, which included the inaugural World Bank-KRIHS Annual Workshop. The theme was Peer-to-Peer Knowledge Sharing in Urban Development.
John Carruthers, director of GW’s Sustainable Urban Planning Program, participated in the workshop and several GW graduate and undergraduate students were in attendance. Dr. Carruthers will visit South Korea in October for two weeks to collaborate on joint research and make a presentation at the World Congress of the Eastern Regional Organization for Planning and Human Settlements.
“The success of this program will be judged by your successes,” Dr. Carruthers told GW students enrolled in the sustainability program who attended the ceremony.
One of those students, Riley Abbott, president of the Sustainable Urban Planning Student Organization, said he was inspired by his experiences hiking through the pristine countryside of the Alaskan wilderness to focus on climate change and other environmental factors affected by urban development.
“I have dedicated my life to sustainable development,” he said, encouraging his colleagues to make a difference in their lives and the world around them. “What will you do while you’re here?”