DU, established in the spirit of Buddhism in 1906, has had a great impact on the history and life of Korean society. The NACF was established in 1961 to enhance the social and economic status of member farmers and balance the development of the national economy. These two organizations have a common background which helps them cooperate, as well.
"Through cooperation with the NACF, DU can develope its bio-technology program, open the Ilsan Hospital and further promote the interests and rights of member farmers." said Dongguk University President Hong Ki-sam.
Last April, Chung Dae-kun, the chairman of NACF, announced that they will help with opening the Ilsan Hospital's in 2005. The donation from the NACF was the largest amount ever given to a Private University from industry-academic cooperation.
President Hong said, "From May, the DU and NACF joint projector will open Ilsan Hospital in order to start medical programs for farmers' welfare."
In the early 1980's Dongguk University started to focus on medical study. After starting the Oriental Medical Center in Geongju campus in 1983, DU then opened hospitals in Geongju, Pohang, Bundang, Kangnam and will open the Ilsan hospital next year. The Ilsan Oriental and Western Hospital has 4 buildings which have 12 stories of above ground and 2 stories underground. The connected buildings' structure is user-friendly and also is suitable for the specific medical welfare of farmers.
“The Agricultural medical support project is not just for diagnoses and treatment service because the hospital is a university hospital and therefore is concerned with education and research diagnosed systems. In line with this, the project will focus on rural health problems. With the NACF's help and through a preventive medical R & D and treatment system, the hospital will be staffed by specialists," said Hong.
"Since the rural areas population consists mostly of senior citizens, the medical welfare will run parallel with oriental and western diagnoses," he added.
Since the launch of the WTO in 1995, the environment surrounding Korean agriculture and the NACF has become more and more difficult. Agricultural markets have been further liberalized and the profitability of farming has been on the decline due to a downturn in the consumption of domestic agricultural products. Now the situation is worse due to the launched of the FTA with Chile in 2004.
President Hong said, “The NACF links Korean rural society and the government because of its basic possibility as a producer association. But Korean agriculture has been going through hard times and will continue to do so due to further FTA's competitive countries. It is the best time for the NACF to prove its public worth. And I believe firmly that industry-academic cooperation will lead to prosperity and improve agriculture income. DU is planning a research program which the NACF needs to improve managing, producing, and marketing agriculture for farmers."
When the joint DU NACF project successfully organizes the medical and education business, they will improve rural culture and the standing of DU's Ilsan campus in Kyounggi province.
"The government's Northeast-centered economic strategy in conjunction with local developmental plans and those of DU will lead to Life Science specialization by combining Agriculture, Medical and Ecological engineering," Hong insisted.
The specialized curriculum can be accelerated because of its location in the Ilsan area. By 2007, the local Goyang organization will form a Chinatown and build a science laboratory at Chungwha University in China. Moreover, Agricultural Cooperative College is very near to the DU Ilsan campus.
By combining Chungwha University's Science laboratory, the study of Ecology in Agricultural Cooperative College and DU's Life Science through oriental and western medical therapy into one Ilsan creates a Bio-Technology Cluster.
The industry-academic cooperation can promote local specialities and improve Korean agriculture not to mention the development of DU.
“DU will celebrate its 100th anniversary in two years. Taking this opportunity of concluding industry-academic cooperation with the NACF, the University can further its development. Dongguk University's 100 years of development is important to all Koreans because it is one of our nation's precious assets," said the president of DU.
For more information about Dongguk University, call (02) 2260-0114 or visit its website at www.dongguk.edu
** Yoon Ji-won is an editor in chief of Dongguk Post, the monthly English student magazine of Dongguk University.-ED.
Yoon Ji Won firstname.lastname@example.org
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