Another 50 Years for KDI
Becoming a Policy Platform to Enhance Quality of Life
▷ Looking back on the past 50 years and announcing a new vision
▷ Online 50th anniversary ceremony with the general public
□ KDI’s 50th anniversary ceremony was held on 10th March, 2021 at 14:00. The opening remarks by KDI President Choi Jeong Pyo were followed by congratulatory messages from Prime Minister Chung Sye-kyun, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Economy and Finance Hong Nam-ki, Presidential Policy Planning Committee Chairman Cho Dae-Yeop, and NRC Korea Chairperson Jung Hae-Gu. After the declaration of KDI’s new vision, an online ceremony was held with virtual participation from the public from across the country.
○ In his opening remarks, KDI President Choi Jeong Pyo stated that “Korea has entered a new phase that encompasses the Covid-19 pandemic, shifts in global economic cooperation, digital transformation, falling birth rates, and an aging population,” adding “The new generation demands a new role from KDI.”
- President Choi asserted that “KDI will maintain the rigour and excellence of its studies, and strengthen its social responsibility.” He also emphasized that “Based on the goal of realizing a quality of life that will enhance the happiness of all members of society, KDI will strive to provide solutions to establish a dynamic economy and inclusive society.”
○ Prime Minister Chung Sye-kyun was the first to send a congratulatory message, praising KDI for “Playing a central role in designing economic policies for prosperity for the past 50 years.” He also expressed his hope that KDI will endeavor to design an inclusive economy that has no disparity and in which everyone thrives.
○ Following was Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Economy and Finance Hong Nam-ki, who said “For the past 50 years, since its establishment in 1971, KDI has accompanied Korea in its journey of rapid growth.” He recognized how KDI has bolstered Korea’s growth, and appealed for it to “Once again gather its collective intelligence and play a pivotal role in the innovation of the Korean economy and society.”
○ Presidential Policy Planning Committee Chairman Cho Dae-Yeop stated that “The dismantlement of the current world order due to the Covid-19 pandemic and emerging signs of crisis requires KDI to answer the call to open a new chapter of civilization.” He proposed that “KDI should set a new direction and establish a new structure and strategy to forsee the next 100 years for not only Korea but also for the global community.”
○ NRC Korea Chairperson Jung Hae-Gu expressed his acknowledgement of KDI’s commitment to “Presenting practical policy solutions during every crisis Korea has faced, and helping the country recover and grow,” emphasizing his hopes that “KDI will find creative solutions to respond to the myriad of issues facing Korea in the coming five decades.”
○ A former economist at Harvard Institute for International Development (HIID), David Cole*, noted that the establishment of KDI and the 10 years thereafter was the most memorable experience of his life. He congratulated KDI on becoming a world-leading policy research institute, and expressed his confidence that “The institute will continue to play a key role in the development of a dynamic and exemplary Korea.”
* Professor Cole participated in the planning of the 2nd Five-year Economic Development Plan, and served as an advisor at the early stages of KDI.
□ 50 years growing alongside the Korean economy
○ Founded in March 1971, KDI is the first think tank in the field of social sciences to support the establishment of economic plans and policies that fits Korea’s situation. It has contributed to formulating rational policies and institutional reforms for over 50 years through in-depth research on economic and social issues which range from the macro-economy and finance to welfare, labor, industry, trade and North Korea.
- Besides policy research, KDI has actively responded to the demands of the times driven by rapidly changing internal and external environments while providing economic education programs and economic policy information, assessing major government-funded projects, supporting PPP projects, fostering next-generation global leaders, and sharing economic development experiences with developing countries. The institute has expanded its role and functions to various fields.
○ Funded by financial assistance from the US, KDI was founded with only twelve economists at the helm. However, it has faithfully fulfilled its role as a driving force for the development of the Korean economy and society. Now, it is a comprehensive policy research institute consisting of over 500 staff.
- For over 50 years, KDI has successfully fostered outstanding talents who are competitive in an array of fields ranging from relations, politics, academia to the private sector.
○ After relocating to Sejong-si (special self-governing city) along with certain government ministries in 2013, KDI reinvented itself from being a theoretical supporter of the growth-first stance to being a provider of agendas that can enhance quality of life, respond to technological changes, strengthen industrial competitiveness, and overcome demographic shifts. During this process, the institute has played a leading role in setting the mid- to long-term direction for the economy.
- While conducting joint research with leading international organizations such as the OECD, World Bank, IMF, and world-renowned research institutes including Brookings, the institute has successfully established its role and status as a global think tank through KSP projects that share Korea's economic development experience with the international community.
○ KDI ranked 16th out of 11,175 research institutes around the world and 5th among non-US institutes according to the 2020 Global Go To Think Tank Index Report released in January 2021, proving itself as Korea's leading think tank.
- The institute was placed high in 14 key categories and had the honor of being the ‘Center of Excellence’ in two categories. It has held first positions in the Top Think Tank Worldwide (non-US) category since 2013 and International Development category since 2016.
□ Declaration of KDI's new future vision: From 'Economic Design for Prosperity' to 'Policy Platform to Enhance Quality of Life’
○ KDI Senior Vice President Kang Dongsoo asserted that KDI has been a collective intelligence that offers solutions for the prosperity of the Korean economy for the past 50 years. He revealed that its future goal is to improve quality of life by building a policy platform, and providing solutions to future challenges and establishing a dynamic economy and inclusive society. He also emphasized KDI’s promise to sincerely consider the transition to a capitalist paradigm where all members of society can coexist in a sustainable system.
○ To this end, the first task is to design policies to improve quality of life while seeking solutions to pending difficulties.
- The institute will be an early provider of accurate information on the risks and crises facing Korea’s economic and social systems while also presenting countermeasures and conducting research for a mid- to long-term strategy for inclusiveness and sustainable development.
○ Secondly, KDI must strengthen its collaboration with other institutions and experts in Korea’s policy research ecosystem to tackle the oncoming difficulties.
- The institute will create win-win incentives to encourage joint cooperation between institutions and experts, and will play the role of a policy platform that can take the lead in the knowledge ecosystem.
○ Thirdly, KDI will strive to become the driving force of the international community by sharing Korea’s experiences, and thereby, getting ahead of global issues.
- By sharing knowledge capital with other countries and contributing to resolving pending problems of the international community, KDI will position itself as a global mecca for development economics in the 21st century.
○ To achieve its vision, KDI plans to set eight strategic tasks in three areas: ‘innovation in work,’ ‘innovation in organization and governance,’ and ‘innovation in people,’ and establish a roadmap for implementation.
□ Online ceremony with virtual participation from the general public
○ In compliance with current quarantine measures, KDI held its 50th anniversary ceremony online to enable not only staff members but also the general public to attend and celebrate.
- The ceremony was broadcasted live via ZOOM and KDI's official YouTube channel. The opening video introduces the role of think tanks and the achievements of the past 50 years.
○ In order to make the 50th anniversary more memorable, the institute began holding a series of public events to promote the its new slogan, emblem, and PR contents from last year.
- Although it was held online, this past event presented a variety of contents, including promotional videos made by young people, a mini talk concert, and an online birthday party, making the ceremony a channel for interaction between all participants.
□ Opening 'Vision Hall' to commemorate the past 50 years and envisage the next.
○ Originally a historical information center, ‘Vision Hall’ was rebuilt and renewed to exhibit the paths KDI has taken in Korea’s economic development through storytelling. This space was designed to fortify the connection with education and training programs, and to present and share Korea’s journey. It was
○ The hall officially opened on 8th March, and the tape-cutting ceremony was attended by KDI President Choi Jeong Pyo, NRC Korea Chairperson Jung Hae-Gu, Mayor of Sejong City Lee Choon-hee, Korea Research Institute for Human Settlements President Kang Hyun-Soo, Korea Institute for International Economic Policy President Kim Heungchong, Korea Institute for Industrial Economic and Trade President Chang Ji-sang, Korea Institute for Health and Social Affairs President Cho Heung-Seek, Korea Institute of Public Finance President Kim Yu Chan, Korea Environment Institute President Yoon Je Yong, Architecture and Urban Research Institute President Park Sohyun, and KDI School of Public Policy and Management Dean You Jong-Il.
○ Vision Hall is now showing the drawing video ‘Sharing Korea's Thoughts with the World beyond Knowledge Assistance,' which reviews the outcomes of policy consultations over the past 50 years. Also, visitors can have a glimpse of KDI’s research trends in the section, , and check out entire publications in .
- In addition, the exhibition is full of media contents and has multiple interfaces with touchscreen so that visitors can directly access various cooperation activities on the world map. It also offers both guided (docent-led) and unguided tours.