Building peace and the future

By Dr. David Hyuk-hwan Kim from the PUST Founding Committee

Since reunification is a long and tough process, it is important to narrow the cultural and economic gap between the two Koreas as much as possible to prepare for a unified Korea. Education is the one of the most effective ways to achieve this goal. The Pyongyang University of Science & Technology (PUST) has taken this important step. To learn more about their initiative, I contacted the PUST and conducted an interview.

What made you decide to establish PUST?
In March 2001, the Ministry of Education of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) authorized the establishment of the Pyongyang University of Science and Technology (PUST) by the Northeast Asia Foundation for Education and Culture (NAFEC), a South Korean not-for-profit organization. NAFEC established China? first foreign university, the Yanbian University of Science and Technology (YUST) in Yanji City in Northeast China, which is a major Korean Chinese population center. During the past fifteen years since its opening in 1992, YUST has grown rapidly to become one of the top 100 universities in China, which is a remarkable accomplishment considering many constraints and challenges that YUST had to deal with during its growth.

Due to YUST’s success, DPRK requested that Dr. James Chin-Kyung Kim, the founder of YUST, create a similar institution in DPRK in 2001. The university will be the work of countless numbers of concerned individuals and donors from DPRK, South Korea, the United States, the European Union, China, and other countries who have come together in a spirit of brotherly love to build a unique institution of higher education founded on modern educational principles.

What are the educational goals of PUST?
- to assemble a first-rate faculty and student body with proven academic potential
- to form an industry cluster with foreign firms operating in DPRK to provide first-hand experience to students seeking practical knowledge
- to educate the new generation of DPRK students who can set the nation on the road to economic development
- to cultivate engineering and business professionals who are conversant in foreign languages
- to train a workforce that will live up to the expectations of these progressive industries
- to generate specialists who are as comfortable with theory as with practical applications
- to raise the future leaders of DPRK

How does PUST select its students and recruit the faculty?
PUST will choose students from qualified candidates selected by the Ministry of Education. Most of students are to come from North Korea’s most competitive colleges, such as Kim Chaek University. The ultimate capacity of PUST is planned to be about 600 graduate students and 2000 undergraduate students. PUST plans to recruit approximately 250 faculty members from prestigious universities and research institutions in the United States, South Korea, and other countries.

How is the curriculum of PUST structured?
PUST? first phase will consist of graduate-level programs, with undergraduate programs following in the second phase. The initial academic offerings will be structured within three schools: information and communication technology, industrial management, and agriculture & food technology.

- The School of Information & Communication Technology (ICT) will first offer PhD and master? degree programs in computing, electronics and communication technology.
- The School of Industrial Management (IM) will offer a master? program in business administration with specializations in management, technology, law, and international business.
- The School of Agriculture & Food Technology (AFT) also will offer PhD and master? degree programs in the areas of agricultural engineering and food processing.

In addition, the School of Engineering, Procurement & Construction (AEC) is being developed with the goal of its inclusion in the first phase scope. The School of Public Health and the School of Material Science & Mechanical Engineering will follow shortly. During their academic studies, students will have the opportunity to put theory into practice, engaging in research that caters to their interests. Each academic program will operate its own division within the center that will serve as the basis for interdisciplinary and collaborative research. Joint programs with research centers in other educational institutions, including foreign universities, will also be encouraged.

How can PUST contribute to the Korean peninsula?
PUST will serve as a vehicle of peace serving to dispel the mistrust of DPRK. Above all, this will be the meeting place where two opposing ideologies can come together and learn from each other and form a middle ground which can prove a passage to the unification.

For more info : Pyongyang University of Science & Technology (

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