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S. Korea's top tech university courts bright int'l students, faculty

All News 17:32 June 23, 2017

By Kim Han-joo

SEOUL, June 23 (Yonhap) -- South Korea's top engineering and technology university, the Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (KAIST) held an event in Seoul Friday to court talented international students and faculty as it strived to further expand its achievements.

In the first ever meeting with foreign diplomats here, the school showcased the advances it has made and the top notch education it offers to students. The "KAIST Embassy Day" event, brought together about 90 diplomats from 65 nations in South Korea, including 31 ambassadors, organizers said.

"KAIST is the first and top science and technology university in South Korea. Today, it is being truly recognized as a world-class university. The presence of this leading group of diplomats reflects how KAIST's reputation has blossomed," Lee Sung-chul, the president of the KAIST, said.

The school said the aim of the event is to eventually bring in more "qualified" and "diversified" students to further boost global competitiveness.

"A total of 710 foreign students from 86 countries, representing about 8 percent of the total student body, are currently studying at KAIST. We will actively recruit more foreign professors and students to KAIST in the coming years to achieve a truly global campus," Lee said.

Since its foundation in 1997, the KAIST has consistently ranked as one of the country's top technology-oriented schools. In 2016, KAIST ranked sixth on a list of the "world's top 100 most innovation universities" and the first on a list of "Asia's top 75 most innovation universities."

During the event, KAIST officials introduced the university's education system, academic achievements and scholarship programs for foreign students and efforts to step up cooperation with universities around the world.

In addition to increasing the ratio of foreign students, KAIST said it hopes to add more diversity among international students in terms of nationalities and regions as it aims to create a truly English-Korean bilingual campus.

International student enrollment has been increasing over the past four academic years, with the number of enrolled foreign students increasing from 45 in 2013 to 80 in 2016, KAIST said.

"The best ideas come from the diversity. Brain drain no longer exists in the complex global era," Lee said.

Among foreign students, Kazakhstan topped the list with eight followed by Vietnam with six, KAIST said, adding that it aims to target more students from developing countries.

"KAIST wants to partner with global talent all around the world. That is one way of giving back to the world what we have received from the global community," the president said.

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