Since 2009, the Korea International Cooperation Agency (KOICA) has been carrying out the “World Friend Advisors” (WFA) program as part of its comprehensive development assistance program, “World Friends Korea,” which integrates international cooperation projects from government organizations into one single group.
Under the WFA program, KOICA has been sending retired government officials and experts overseas to share their knowledge and experience with developing countries in order to contribute to economic and social development.
Last year, KOICA sent a total of 45 overseas for the WFA projects.
In the first half of 2011, KOICA selected 14 people to spend five days at KOICA’s training center in Yangjae in southern Seoul for training in international development cooperation, IT education, cultural understanding and adapting to local cultures.
After completing the education program, the participants will head to El Salvador, Tanzania, Mongolia, Ecuador, Pakistan, Indonesia, Vietnam, Sri Lanka, Uganda, Bangladeshi, Rwanda to provide help and advice in various sectors, including education, agriculture, energy, urban development, forestry, vocational training, human resources management, election management, health and welfare and local development.
The members of the delegation include a former university professor, a retired doctor, a researcher, retired government officers and a former military officer.
In a June 12 interview with the Weekly Gonggam, published by the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism, delegation member Ahn Pyeong-guk, a retired officer of the National Election Commission, said he always wanted to share his knowledge with others.
Ahn said he was happy for the chance to go to Mongolia because he decided to share what he has with others in return for all that he has received as a citizen of Korea. In preparation, he has been studying English and Chinese.
Oriental medicine doctor Han Gyu-eon currently teaches at the University of Colombo in Sri Lanka through the WFA (Yonhap News)
Meanwhile, Yonhap News reported on June 14 that another WFA member, Oriental medicine doctor Han Gyu-eon, has been teaching medicine in Sri Lanka.
Han was firstly dispatched to Sri Lanka by the Korean government in 2004 and worked there for six years. After a short trip back home, he again headed to Sri Lanka in November last year and has been teaching acupuncture at the University of Colombo ever since.
During his first stay in Sri Lanka, Han taught acupuncture to more than 100 local doctors for six years while working at the Korean Clinic at the National Ayurvedic Teaching Hospital in Colombo. He also treated more than 120,000 patients.
Ayurveda is a traditional medical practice that originated in India. In Sri Lanka, a doctor’s license in Ayurveda requires six years of study, including a five-year university course and a one-year internship.
In a telephone interview with Yonhap, Han said Korean acupuncture is playing a “bridging role” between Korea and Sri Lanka, as more Sri Lankan government officials and local Ayuvedic doctors expand their understanding of acupuncture.