|| 'We thank Korean government
for new IVI headquarters building'
Interview with John Clemens, director of IVI
The JoongAng Ilbo daily
Wednesday, June 11, 2003
“The International Vaccine Institute is Korea’s gift to children in developing countries of the world.”
Dr. John Clemens (54), the Director of the IVI that will hold the inaugural symposium on June 26, started an interview by expressing his sincere gratitude to the Korean government and people.
The IVI is the only international organization headquartered in Korea. The institute, which was occupying part of Seoul National University’s agriculture and life science building temporarily, has just moved into a new headquarters building that was completed recently. The new five-story building with a total floor space of 17,000 sq. meters is situated close to the dormitories of Seoul National University.
The headquarters building, which was constructed through an international bidding, is a state-of-the-art edifice that is filled with world-class researchers and cutting-edge facilities. The Korean government provided the entire cost for construction totaling $140 million including the property.
“The IVI carries out comprehensive tasks related with vaccine, including training on vaccination, and introduction of new vaccines, as well as research on vaccines against cholera, yellow fever, and typhoid fever. It is operated with funding from rich philanthropists including Bill Gates and Rockefeller, but supports from the Korean government are also crucial (to our operation),” Dr. Clemens said.
The Korean government is paying about 30 percent of the IVI’s annual operating budget. The institute has about 65 staff members including doctorate-level scientists at present, and will have about 200 when it becomes fully operational.
A graduate of the Yale University School of Medicine, Dr. Clemens was inaugurated as the IVI’s first director in 1999. Dr. Clemens, who served as the Chief of the Epidemiology Branch at the U.S. National Institutes of Health, is a medical doctor that has been devoting his life to doing research on prevention of infectious diseases such as cholera, and on vaccines.
For more than 10 years, he endeavored to introduce new vaccines, including cholera vaccine, in developing countries like Vietnam. He is serving a five-year term in office at the IVI. His wife is the chief of the pediatrics clinic at Wayne State University in the United Sates.