IVI in the Media
How to Attract International Organizations and Make Success
The Hankook Ilbo
May 20, 2014
by Cho Dong-Sung, Emeritus Prof. of Seoul National University, President of Korea Support Committee for IVI
When the International Vaccine Institute (IVI) was hosted by Korea in 1997, the country was a backwater of international organizations. Six nations including China, Thailand and Singapore engaged in competition to become host to IVI. The Korean government, namely the Ministry of Education and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, closely collaborated with the private sector with Seoul National University as the focal point to successfully host the Institute, opening a new chapter in the history of international organizations in Korea. Thirteen years later, the Global Green Growth Institute (GGGI) was inaugurated in Seoul as the second international organization based in Korea, while the Green Climate Fund (GCF) opened its secretariat in Incheon to become the third international organization based in the nation. Korea has thus emerged as a major player as host to global bodies.
IVI has been conducting noble humanitarian mission to protect children from infectious diseases through the development and introduction of new vaccines. The cholera vaccine developed by IVI has been immunized in more than 450,000 people, and is being used in cholera-affected regions of the world. IVI also developed a new candidate vaccine against typhoid fever and a novel vaccine delivery method: under the tongue. By conducting clinical trials and demonstration projects, the Institute is endeavoring to help save 4.4 million children under age 5 yearly, who are dying due to infectious diseases.
Through international organizations hosted by Korea, we can put into practice volunteering and sharing to achieve peace and prosperity of humanity. To this end, we should proactively attract more international organizations, and help those based in Korea to successfully take root and continue their strides.
The first requirement for international organizations hosted by Korea to succeed is to secure adequate and stable financial resources. IVI has received support from Sweden, one of the world’s largest donor nations, since the early days after its establishment. The business community in Korea and elsewhere, including pharmaceutical companies and conglomerates, and research organizations are also providing generous support to IVI. The Korea Support Committee for IVI is making far-reaching efforts to help diversify IVI’s funding base as well. The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the world’s largest philanthropy, has donated about US$150 million to IVI over the years, enabling the Institute to develop new cholera vaccine and typhoid candidate vaccine.
The second condition for success of international organizations is networking. International organizations hosted by Korea can maximize the effectiveness of international aid by cooperating with renowned organizations with strong influence in official development assistance. At the same time, they can expand its contributions to the international community through cooperation with world leaders such as UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon and World Bank President Jim Yong Kim. For instance, the World Health Organization prepared a stockpile with the cholera vaccine developed by IVI, and the stockpile is being deployed to immunize 140,000 refugees in South Sudan.
The third is close collaborations with the Korean society. Koreans should welcome expats working at international organizations as friends, and give adequate consideration and support in child education and medical service to ensure that they would not feel inconvenience living here. By so doing, Korea should provide them with favorable working conditions, so that they can focus on their mission while regarding this country as their second motherland.
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More than 32,000 international organizations are operating worldwide. Starting with IVI, GGGI and GCF, Korea must attract more international organizations. For that to happen, Korea should provide the necessary assistance to ensure that the international organizations that Korea already hosted despite obstacles can successfully consolidate their foothold in Korea and continue to develop. To make it happen, the government should provide unwavering support while the private sector should also extend strong endorsement. In order for Korea to host more international organizations, and for those global bodies in Korea to emerge as success models, the entire Korean population should extend warm attention.