JEJU, KOREA — Chung Un-chan, former Prime Minister and now Chairman of the Presidential Commission for Shared Growth, will be appointed as the first honorary mayor of the Jeju Global Education City (JGEC). The appointment was announced by the Jeju Free International City Development Center (JDC) after discussions with the Jeju Special Self-Governing Province.
Chung has gladly accepted the offer, promising that he will dedicate himself to developing JGEC. Currently, the construction of Branksome Hall Asia, scheduled to open in JGEC this October, is going smoothly, and follows the opening of KIS Jeju and NLCS Jeju last September. JDC has held discussions with a number of elite US private schools to set up overseas branches in Jeju.
In addition, JDC and the Jeju Province plan to attract prestigious foreign universities to Jeju. To that end, Chairman Chung, who served as president of Seoul National University, is expected to play a critical role in JDC’s projects. JGEC is a national project that began with the government’s announcement of the establishment of the Jeju English-only town in December 2006.
The project is led by JDC, a state-owned company established under the Ministry of Land, Transport and Maritime Affairs. Under the project, international schools, English education centers and residential and commercial facilities will be built on a 3.79 million m2 site in JGEC near Daejung-eup, Seogwipo City, Jeju, with a total investment of KRW1.781 trillion by 2015.
The ultimate goal of JGEC is to reduce the country’s educational trade deficit by meeting growing demand for study abroad programs, including English learning, and to create an English education hub for Korea and an educational hub for Northeast Asia.
Meanwhile, Honorary Mayor Chung, the country’s key economist and politician, served as the 23rd president of Seoul National University and the 40th Prime Minister of Korea. Born in Gongju, South Chungcheong Province, he graduated from Kyunggi High School and went to Seoul National University to major in economics.
After a short stint at the Bank of Korea in 1970, he went to the US and earned an M.A. in economics from Miami University and a Ph.D. in economics from Princeton University. In 1978, he taught economics at his alma mater and then served as the 23rd president of the school from July 2002 to July 2006.
Chung was awarded an honorary degree in international education by the Far Eastern National University in Russia. Chung held senior positions in the public sector. He was an advisor to the Constitutional Court of Korea and the co-chairman of the National ICT Strategy Commission before carrying out his duty as Prime Minister from September 2009 to August 2010.
Since December 2010, he has headed the National Committee for New7Wonders of Nature to help Jeju become one of the world’s top 7 wonders. He has also been the honorary president of Seoul National University since March 2011.