Grad Students to Take a Lesson from S. Koreans
Public Affairs Trip to Seoul Will Offer a Look at Governance Innovations
May 7, 2010
A group of UT Dallas public affairs students will visit South Korea this month in a pilot program designed to expose them to local governance on the other side of the world.
Dr. Jeremy Hall, assistant professor in the School of Economic, Political and Policy Sciences, is launching the new program for public affairs graduate students who have special interest in municipal governments. He plans to take 10 students to Seoul, the nation’s capital and largest city, for a week beginning May 23.
“This will be a great opportunity for students to experience a different culture but also to see the innovative approaches to public policy that are happening throughout the world,” he said. “Seoul is a huge metropolitan area, and the government there is doing some innovative things to make sure its citizens feel as though they’re part of the process of making decisions.”
The local government has embraced technology and uses blogs to solicit and debate issues raised by citizens. Because the country’s democracy developed so quickly following the end of the Korean War, current leaders have to tackle long-ignored issues such as environmental concerns, while also trying to move their economy forward. The government decided to sponsor the public affairs program because leaders hoped it might offer opportunities for positive publicity and continued learning on their part, Hall said.
The students will meet as a class before and after the journey and will submit a paper outlining their learning experience when they return. They will spend the week in Seoul meeting with government leaders and observing procedures. Students from Rutgers University and the University of Georgia also will join the group.
Students will pay regular tuition and be responsible for airfare and other travel costs. Lodging, local transportation and meals will be provided by the Seoul metropolitan government.
“We hope we’ll give students a better perspective on how governments function,” Hall said. “We hope they come back with some ideas that can be applied in the U.S.”