August 25, 2021 – SEOUL, Republic of Korea – The President of the Republic of Colombia, His Excellency Iván Duque Márquez, paid an official visit to the International Vaccine Institute (IVI) today at its headquarters in Seoul during his state visit to the Republic of Korea. The delegation from Colombia included Madame María Juliana Ruiz, First Lady, His Excellency Fernando Ruiz, Minister of Health and Social Protection of Colombia, and His Excellency Juan Carlos Caiza Rosero, Ambassador of Colombia to the Republic of Korea.
President Duque was received by Dr. Jerome Kim, Director General of IVI, and Madame Kim Jung-sook, First Lady of the Republic of Korea, the Honorary President of IVI’s Support Committee.
During the meeting, President Duque delivered a letter of intention to Dr. Kim for Colombia to become an IVI member state. Subsequently, a Memorandum of Understanding was signed between the Ministry of Health and Social Protection of Colombia and IVI to explore opportunities for future collaboration and knowledge sharing in the areas of capacity building, infectious disease research, epidemiology, and vaccine research and development.
President Iván Duque said, “IVI is an institution that saves lives. We acknowledge that in these difficult times we are facing in history, there must be more cooperation and equality in distributing vaccines around the world. Becoming a member of IVI is a must for a country like Colombia. And it is a must not only to face the challenges of COVID-19, but to be able to develop vaccines and distribute vaccines for common illness we face on a regular basis.”
“Vaccine production and scientific research are moral musts, and a duty that we must all embrace. We come here today to sign this memorandum of understanding and raise it at a presidential level, as President Moon and Madame First Lady have done. Thank you, Dr. Kim. Thank you, Madame First Lady. Thank you, scientific community, and thank you to the United Nations for establishing this important center in the Republic of Korea.”
Mr. George Bickerstaff, Chairperson of IVI’s Board of Trustees, said in a video message: “It is our privilege to receive your government’s letter of intent for Colombia to join IVI, initiating the process of becoming a member state and exploring new possibilities of collaboration between IVI and Colombia’s Ministry of Health and Social Protection.”
“IVI has much to gain from Colombia’s expertise and leadership, and we hope to demonstrate the breadth of opportunities across vaccine research and public health that we make available to our member states.”
Growing ties between Colombia and IVI follow the World Health Assembly’s call upon its member states and intergovernmental organizations to collaborate strategically to promote local vaccine production amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
Dr. Kim expressed his gratitude to the President and First Lady Ruiz for their official visit to IVI. “It is with great pleasure that I welcome you, Mr. President, and your esteemed delegation to the International Vaccine Institute during your official visit to the Republic of Korea. In a historic year that has demonstrated the critical need for international partnership in protecting and strengthening global public health, we are particularly honored by your presence at IVI today.”
Madame First Lady Kim Jung-sook said, “To combat a virus that knows no national borders and overcome the COVID-19 pandemic, there is an urgent need to ensure equitable distribution of vaccines to everyone in every country. Under these circumstances, IVI has contributed to the international community’s efforts to overcome COVID-19 by conducting clinical trials of candidate vaccines against COVID-19 and establishing a vaccine evaluation system. IVI’s efforts will have a bigger impact when more countries and partners work together. With ratification by Finland last year and Bangladesh this year, 36 countries and WHO are participating in IVI as members. It is heartening to see a growing number of countries joining IVI, including Colombia today.”
“I hope that the vision of creating a healthier tomorrow for humankind through vaccines without borders alongside reliable partners like Colombia can be realized more quickly.”
IVI is an international organization founded in 1997 at the initiative of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) with 36 countries and the World Health Organization (WHO) on its treaty, including the Republic of Korea, Sweden, India, and Finland as state funders.
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). Headquartered in Seoul, South Korea, IVI was the first international organization hosted by Korea. IVI has 36 countries and the World Health Organization (WHO) on its treaty, including 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, 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
Aerie Em, Global Communications & Media Specialist
+82 2 881 1386 | email@example.com