ACDI/VOCA Hosts Learning Event for Kyung Hee University Students
ACDI/VOCA technical specialists trained 11 Korean graduate students on international development consulting on June 20 and 21 at its Washington, D.C., headquarters.
The Graduate School of Pan-Pacific International Studies of South Korea’s Kyung Hee University approached ACDI/VOCA, which has nearly 50 years of experience in beneficiary-driven economic development programs, to help build the capacity of the future development consultants. Fifteen ACDI/VOCA specialists shared real-world experience from the point of view of a development implementer.
Former Aid Recipient Becomes Donor
South Korea is the first former aid-recipient country to join the 34-member Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) donor group.
“It’s good that global development continues to decentralize, especially when a nation that is sharing its largesse can also serve as such a vivid example of development success,” said ACDI/VOCA Senior Vice President Paul Guenette, who organized the course.
He added that South Korea plans to double its nearly $2 billion foreign assistance program next year, and “they need to strengthen their overseas development assistance infrastructure.”
Development Success Doesn’t Come Easily
Development effectiveness is critical in today’s austere global financial environment. As today’s continued food crisis in many parts of the world makes clear, success doesn’t come easily. Studying best practices and comparing notes—especially across cultures—makes good sense.
The Korea International Cooperation Agency (KOICA) and Korea’s Kyung Hee University responded in 2011 by launching a joint master in arts degree in international development. The two-day training at ACDI/VODCA is the centerpiece of the students’ six-day stay in Washington, D.C.
ACDI/VOCA embraces learning agendas as a critical aspect of its own capacity building and readily took on this training as an opportunity to put learning into practice.
Wide-ranging, Practical Curriculum on Development
The course was created by Kyung Hee University’s Chair of the Department of International Development Cooperation, Professor Jae Sung Kwak, and Guenette. The trainees received instruction on the structure of the international development industry; key development themes; new business development; leveraging private sector funding; best practices in key technical fields; and other international development priorities regarding global funding and program implementation.
The training involved a mix of presentations, panel discussions and learning activities. The group, which features a wide range of ages and experience, joined some of ACDI/VOCA’s 178 headquarters staff for brown bag lunches and took every opportunity to interact directly with their American colleagues.
Feedback on Development Training Positive
According to Guenette the trainees’ evaluation of the course was positive on content, pace, materials and presentation. There was a consensus that the training was professionally done and of consistently high quality.
Guenette said, “They particularly appreciated the personal sharing of expertise from our real, live industry professionals.”
He added that as a result of the training, “perhaps after 40 years away, ACDI/VOCA can return to a new donor-country Korea to help guide their international development surge.”
Learn more about ACDI/VOCA's current programs around the world.
Pictured at left: Kyung Hee University graduate students with ACDI/VOCA's President Carl Leonard, Senior Vice President Paul Guenette, and Employee Development Director Maura Bookter.