Asia Pacific UNESCO Director visits New Zealand
The NZ National Commission for UNESCO hosted top UNESCO education official, Dr Gwang-Jo Kim in February. It was the first time Dr Kim had visited New Zealand since he was appointed Director of the UNESCO Office in Bangkok and Regional Bureau for Education in Asia and the Pacific, as well as UNESCO Representative to Thailand, Lao PDR, Myanmar and Singapore in 2009.
Dr Kim met with a wide range of senior government officials and was keen to find out more about New Zealand’s multi-lingual education (mother-tongue based pilots such as kohanga reo) and indigenous education experiences.
“New Zealand has set a good example of this with recognition and education in the native tongue spoken in this country. UNESCO would like to promote this kind of multi-lingual programme throughout the world,” said Dr Kim.
“Indigenous education experiences in New Zealand could be a perfect example for the remainder of the region. Issues that face many countries in the Asia Pacific region around the development of better, more effective approaches to indigenous education.”
Between 2001 and 2004, Dr Kim was affiliated with the World Bank as Senior Education Specialist at its Headquarters in Washington DC. During this time, he worked on education projects which included the preparation of lending schemes and delivery of technical assistance, as well as monitoring and evaluating human resources development projects on issues such as lifelong learning, on-the-job training, technical and vocational education, secondary and tertiary education, students’ loan programmes, and information and communication technologies (ICT) in education. He was also involved in a “Lifelong Learning: Education for knowledge-based economy” analytical programme, initiated by the World Bank’s Human Development Network, Education (HDNED).
Born in 1955, Dr Kim holds a Bachelor’s degree in Public Administration from Korea University, Seoul (1978), as well as a Master’s degree (1984) and a PhD (1994) in Education from Harvard University, Massachusetts, U.S.A.