SEOUL, Korea — Dr. Sushant Sahastrabuddhe, Associate Director General at the International Vaccine Institute (IVI), has been awarded “Honorary Citizenship of Seoul.” The Seoul Metropolitan Government presented nine individuals living in Seoul from 8 countries, including Dr. Sahastrabuddhe, with Honorary Citizenship at a ceremony at City Hall on December 1.
Dr. Sahastrabuddhe, an Indian national and one of the longest-serving international staff of IVI, has been named a honorary citizen for his contributions to the joint efforts with Korean companies and international partners to develop vaccines against COVID-19 and other diseases. He had been recommended for Honorary Citizenship by Dr. Jerome Kim, Director General of IVI, the first international organization headquartered in Seoul, Korea.
Dr. Sahastrabuddhe, who joined IVI in July 2010, had led the clinical trials of IVI’s typhoid vaccine and process to achieve its licensure, and is leading the global clinical development of and licensure of SK bioscience’s COVID-19 vaccines, and Phase 1 and 2 trials of Bharat Biotech’s Chikungunya vaccine. He continues to lead collaboration with companies and other partners in Korea, India and other countries to get these vaccines through early- to late-stages of their clinical development. Dr. Sahastrabuddhe is also associated with Yonsei University as Research Professor and with Universite Claude Bernanrd, Lyon France and Research Fellow.
“It is a great privilege to be named ‘Honorary Citizen of Seoul.’ Having been in Seoul for more than 11 years, I feel connected to the city and country. It is an honor not only for me personally but also for IVI as an international organization based in Korea. I am thrilled that the Seoul Metropolitan Government has acknowledged mine and IVI’s contributions to the fight against COVID-19 and other infectious diseases to improve the health of people worldwide and accorded the recognition the Institute deserves. I am committed to playing a part to continue support Seoul’s efforts to promote cooperation across International partners.”
This year, the Honorary Citizenship program selected as honorary citizens among people who actively participated in various policy fields of the Seoul municipal government, including economy, culture, and tourism, and those who performed good deeds for society as Seoul residents. These individuals were selected through a strict screening process by a panel of judges who determined that these foreigners made significant contributions to making Seoul city a happier place to live.
Seoul Mayor Oh Se-hoon attended the award ceremony to honor the nine awardees. The event, which was scaled down due to COVID-19, was broadcast though “Live Seoul (tv.seoul.go.kr)” channel to allow families and friends of the awardees to celebrate together online.
The honorary citizenship system for foreigners in Seoul began in 1958 with the award of “Meritorious Citizenship” to foreigners who helped rebuild the city in the aftermath of the Korean War. Since then, “Honorary Citizenship” has been awarded to foreigners who have contributed to the development of Seoul, foreign heads visiting Seoul, and diplomatic envoys to honor their contribution and to further cooperation for the development of Seoul. A total of 891 people from 100 countries have been appointed as honorary citizens of Seoul so far, including Dr. Florian Marks, who is the first IVI staff to receive the honor in 2021.
“Honorary citizens are people who love Seoul and have worked hard in various field such as economy, culture, public relations, and other services for Seoul and its citizens. I hope these remarkable individuals continue to serve as a bridge expediting exchanges between Seoul and other global cities and countries.” said Mr. Yoon Jong-jang, PR representative of Seoul Metropolitan Government.
About the International Vaccine Institute (IVI)
The International Vaccine Institute (IVI) is a nonprofit inter-governmental organization established in 1997 at the initiative of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP). IVI has 36 countries and the World Health Organization (WHO) on its treaty, including the Republic of Korea, Sweden, India, and Finland as state funders.
Our mandate is to make vaccines available and accessible for the world’s most vulnerable people. We focus on infectious diseases of global health importance such as cholera, typhoid, shigella, salmonella, schistosomiasis, chikungunya, group A strep, Hepatitis A, HPV, TB, HIV, MERS, COVID-19, as well as antimicrobial resistance. For more information, please visit https://www.ivi.int.