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Agency eyes opening Swedish office to help S. Korea win Nobel Prizes

Lee Geun, chief of the Korea Foundation, speaks during a New Year interview in Seoul on Wednesday. (Yonhap)
Lee Geun, chief of the Korea Foundation, speaks during a New Year interview in Seoul on Wednesday. (Yonhap)

The Korea Foundation, a state-run public diplomacy organization, is eyeing a project to establish an office in Sweden to assist South Korea in efforts toward winning Nobel Prizes in science, the agency‘s chief has said.

In a recent New Year interview, Lee Geun said the Tokyo University of Technology, which is one of the schools with the most Nobel Prize winners, operated an office in the European country to promote theses and achievements in sciences by its scholars to the Nobel Prize committees, which are the bodies tasked with selecting Nobel Prize Laureates.

“We have yet to do so. There is a need for our country to follow suit,” Lee said.

The foundation runs eight offices in seven countries -- the United States, Japan, China, Russia, Germany, Vietnam and Indonesia.

Lee stressed the importance of publicizing the country’s academic achievements worldwide, as well as nurturing Nobel Laureate candidates.

Japan has given birth to 30 Nobel Prize winners, including Japanese living abroad, out of whom 26 winners came in the fields of physics, chemistry, physiology and medicine, but South Korea has won a Nobel Peace Prize only, he said.

He attributed the poor results partially to South Korea‘s lack of efforts to engage in public relations work toward Nobel Prizes.

The agency is also weighing a possible plan to set up an office in Australia, with which South Korea shares similar values, such as democracy and market economy, Lee said.

Also being contemplated by the agency is the establishment of a cultural center for Eurasia in line with the government’s New Northern Policy aimed at improving South Korea‘s partnerships with Russia and other countries located north of the peninsula.

The planned launch of the Eurasia Culture Center comes after the agency established the ASEAN Culture House under its wing in the southeastern port city of Busan in 2017, which has grown as a top organization promoting cultural exchanges with the 10-member Association of Southeast Asian Nations. (Yonhap)

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