2023 GMPA

Opening Ceremony




Derrick Boadu Asante

  The Graduate School of Public Administration (GSPA) at Seoul National University (SNU) held a welcome ceremony for its 2023 Global Master of Public Administration (GMPA) students on 1 September 2023. Faculty and students (both from the 2023 cohort, and seniors from the 2022 cohort) shared their expectations and experiences for the program ­– expressing their hopes for a fruitful learning experience and sowing seeds for the start of a diverse network.  

  The objective of the orientation sought to welcome the newly  students, foster an excellent network among faculty Heads and students. Additionally, it also served as a platform for the students to share their expectations towards the program.

This year’s GMPA cohort comprise students (mostly public officials) from a diverse mix of countries across the globe, such as Cambodia, Ghana, Mongolia, Tajikistan,  Indonesia, Jordan, Philippines, Singapore, Tanzania, Uzbekistan, and South Korea through a competitive selection criterion. The majority received prestigious scholarships, with competitive selection criteria, for their studies, such as from the KOICA-SNU Master’s Degree Program in Public Management and Public Sector Reforms, KOICA-SNU Master’s Degree Program in Capacity Building for SDGs (Asia), Korea Civil Servants Program (1+1) and the Korean Government Scholarship.

  The orientation began with Professor. Kilkon Ko, Director of the GMPA Program, delivering his welcome remarks. He assured students of GSPA’s education quality and encouraged the 2023 GMPA cohort to make use of their time in GMPA to learn global best practices in public policy, and interact and build excellent networks. Given the diverse mix of students, he further advised students to be respectful, culturally sensitive and be open to learning from one another.

Professor. Kwon, Huck Ju, followed with his welcome remarks. He explained that GSPA/SNU has a proud history, since its establishment in 1958, in leading the industrialization and development of Korea, and has produced numerous leaders and key talents in the public sector who have played a crucial role in the development of South Korea. He encouraged students to partake in the endeavor to raise the quality and reputation of GSPA/SNU, and assured students that they will greatly enjoy their stay and academic pursuit, with the conducive environment and ultra-modern facilities made available by the school.

Students’ Expectations

  GMPA students from the 2023 cohort took turns to share their expectations for the program. These diverse views could be clustered into three main areas.

First, students expect themselves to build adequate capacity in public administration and public policy, and hope to acquire the requisite knowledge, skills and capabilities to formulate sustainable policies to address the various challenges in their respective countries. Such views stemmed from their belief that each of them could be an agent of positive change in their various countries, and they could make a significant impact in their respective countries with the right skillsets.  For example, Tehmina from Pakistan said that the interpretation of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in public policy making is a challenge for her country and expressed her intention to learn from Korea’s experience during the program.

Second, given the diverse mix of students who are highly qualified public officials back in their respective countries, the 2023 GMPA cohort expressed their desire to establish an excellent network among themselves and leverage this network to exchange best policy practices, its formulation, implementation and sustainability through offline discussions in other to replicate or adapt the same in their countries. For example, Derrick from Ghana expressed that he came to South Korea with an open mind to build quality networks and learn best practices in South Korea, while Sangmin Park from South Korea expressed his intention to better understand other cultures through his interaction with other students. 

Third, the 2023 GMPA cohort expressed their desire to enjoy themselves thoroughly in the program and saw their studies as a break from their work that would facilitate them to recharge and refresh their perspectives. For example, Hong Wei Low from Singapore said that many of them have worked very hard for several years and consider his study period as a well-deserved break before he goes back to serve in higher positions and responsibilities in his country. Hogun Kang from Korea echoed his sentiments. 

  Additionally, a KOICA scholarship fellow from Uzbekistan, Dmitriy Neudachin, shared an anecdote of the Director for international relations at Korea Exchange he met in Tashkent, whose family loved living in Tashkent because it reminded them of Korea in the past, essentially making them feel like traveling back in time. Being in Seoul now, Dmitriy hopes that he is traveling time to the future of what Uzbekistan will become.

Following the sharing by the 2023 cohort, the President of the 2022 GMPA cohort briefly highlighted that academics was only one aspect, and urged students to make full use of the exciting opportunities, excellent infrastructure, beautiful landscape and fun provided by GSPA/SNU and South Korea.


  In closing, Professor. Ko encouraged students to learn from their professors and enjoy their stay in one of the best universities in South Korea. He added that the faculty has many activities planned for students throughout the program and encouraged students to participate actively. He also shared that GMPA is continuously aiming to improve itself, and that students could contribute to the improvement, such as by helping to redevelop the GMPA website and plan additional extracurricular activities. To that end, he called for active participation for the activities and volunteers to partake in the improvement of GMPA.

The orientation was then brought to a closure with a group photograph and a networking dinner.


SNU GSPA Welcomes the 2023 Batch of Global Masters in Public Administration 

Cyrenes Moncawe and Dmitriy Neudachin


  To warmly welcome the new batch of students taking the Global Masters in Public Administration (GMPA) program of the Graduate School of Public Administration (GSPA), Seoul National University (SNU), a two-day orientation was held on August 31-September 1, 2023 at the GSPA Building 57. 

  The first day of the orientation focused on the introduction to Korean culture and SNU and what the students can expect from the program. Professor Kilkon Ko, Director of GMPA, gave a brief historical background on the foundation of SNU and GSPA and shifted to the intricate tapestry of the program, providing students with a comprehensive roadmap of their academic journey. He delved into the nuances of the curriculum, elucidated the program's key learning objectives, and unveiled the vast landscape of research opportunities awaiting them. To lessen the presentation's formality, Professor Ko narrated that once the students go outside the campus and Koreans learn that they are studying at SNU, they will suddenly change their attitudes toward them because, apparently, Koreans think highly of SNU students. 

Students were also told about the wide range of support services available, including academic advising, career counseling, and access to SNU's massive central library and other research facilities. The students were encouraged to take full advantage of these resources. 

  The second day was less formal as it focused on getting to know more about the new batch of GMPA students. Professor Ko facilitated this session and started with the saying, "leaders should lead by example." Therefore, together with Professor Kwon Huckju, project manager of the KOICA SDGs Program and Vice Director of the Global Development Institute for Public Affairs (GDI), they briefly introduced themselves. 

“GMPA is growing. We are so diverse in terms of nationality and background. The most important thing for the success of the upcoming semesters is to know each other well, understand each other. So today is very important," remarked Professor Kwon. 

This was then followed by the introduction of students coming from Kazakhstan, Pakistan, Ghana, Philippines, Indonesia, Singapore, Korea, Tajikistan, Timor Leste, China, and Uzbekistan. Some of the expectations and motivations shared by the students in choosing GMPA are: (1) to develop a quality network with fellow public officials; (2) learn how developing countries implement government projects and SDGs; (3) learn how Korea deals with issues such as the aging population, low fertility rate, public housing issues, and land development; (4) how to involve citizens in policymaking; and (4) to see how foreign ministries can be more effective as a bridge in norm-setting from the multilateral level up to the implementation all the way down to ministries and local government. 

During the lively discussion, one of the students added his desire to take a much-needed break from the daily grind. The sentiment was echoed by the rest of the students, who are all government officials in their home countries. Some of the students work for the Ministry of Finance, Ministry of Justice, Ministry of Sanitation and Water Resources, National Fisheries Research and Development Institute, Ministry of Public Housing, Ministry of National Development, Korea Fair Trade Commission, Ministry of Administrative and Bureaucratic Reform, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ministry of Unification focusing on North Korean policy, Ministry of Trade and Industry, and Presidential Administration. 

"Make your life more beautiful. Try to enjoy the culture and attractions that South Korea has," encouraged Professor Ko as he concluded the orientation and invited everyone to the welcome dinner.

GSPA is the first professional graduate school to have been established in Korea.

GMPA launched its program in 2011 and has been providing master's degrees education to public officials worldwide. With two programs occurring, "Public Management and Public Sector Reforms" and "Capacity Building for SDGs", the GMPA program has produced alumni, including government officials from developing countries and public officials of the Korean government.