Exclusive interview of Rae Kwon Chung, winner of the Nobel prize, to RANEPA website (VIDEO)
Rae Kwon Chung, winner of the Nobel prize, gave an exclusive interview for the website of the Presidential Academy, where he discussed the subject of sustainable development, perspectives of interaction between RANEPA and South Korea in this issue, and also summed up the conversation with Andrei Margolin, Provost, Director of the Institute of Finance and Sustainable Development (IFSD) of RANEPA.
In the interview, Rae Kwon Chung told that today one of the most debated agendas is climate change and motion of energy towards clean and green future. The professor also expressed his opinion on the role of universities in promotion of sustainable development: ‘This is the new area, where our society and future need more experts. Exactly in the areas, such as green growth, climate change and social development, there are many new opportunities for students.
Rae Kwon Chung shared his ideas about RANEPA IFSD and emphasized that the Institute can impact the direction of progress of the national politics of Russia towards sustainable development. ‘This shall be a great contribution to the global social development and create new opportunities for Russia,’ the winner of the Nobel prize stressed.
Summing up the conversation with Andrei Margolin, Mr Rae Kwon Chung noted that it was a very interesting and profound discussion, where the parties agreed that it is necessary to move from quantitative growth indicators of GDP towards improvement of its quality. Professor Rae Kwon Chung noted that there were many subjects for cooperation of the Presidential Academy in sustainable development both with him, Rae Kwon Chung, personally and with South Korean institutes.
- What issues and challenges related to sustainable development are most actively discussed on the current economic and political agenda?
One of the most vigorously discussed topics is climate change, as well as transition to cleaner and greener low carbon energy. This topic is the most important one. The reason I came to Moscow is that I became the Chairman of the Global Energy Prize International Award Committee, established by President Putin in 2002.
I came here to chair the International Award Committee, which will select the Global Energy Prize winners. We had a meeting two days ago, on the 28-th, and we chose two winners, one from the United States and one from Denmark. Just before I arrived here at RANEPA, I gave a news conference at the TASS news agency. We announced the two winners from the energy sector. Their research projects were related to energy storage, the battery technology and also smart degree technology which will be a very important component for our future energy system.
- What do you think is the role of universities in promoting sustainable development? In what vein should sustainable development be taught to students?
Social development is a long-term issue. We cannot expect a solution short-term, but in many cases, people still focus on short-term issues. For a university student, when they plan their lifetime career development, they should certainly consider sustainable development, not only conventional areas like banking, trading, or business – these are the areas with strong competition. Maybe they are already fully saturated with competent people. Sustainable development, like the environment or social development, is a new area where we need more experts for the future. University students can think about it as a blue ocean. I call it the green ocean. They can think, why should I jump into the red ocean where competition is so strong, when I can look to a new area of green, climate change and social development? These are the new areas opening up – a land of more opportunities for university students.
- The Institute of Finance and Sustainable Development is the first institution of its kind in Russia. What is your assessment of this new school as part of the Presidential Academy?
I think I was really pleased to learn that RANEPA has established this finance and sustainable development center, which will play a critical role in promoting a reform of the social development agenda as part of Russia’s national development plan. Russia is the largest country in the world, a leader in the global economy. If this finance and sustainable development center can play a very important role in driving Russia’s national development policy towards sustainable development, it will be a huge contribution to the global sustainable development.
Also, it'll create new opportunities for Russia. I always say that Russia has a lot to gain from green economic growth and social development. Because your potential for a green future is the highest in the world. At the moment, Russia relies on its gas and oil resources. Your country is rich in fossil fuel resources. You have a huge potential for wind power, solar power, hydro, geothermal – you have a huge potential of renewable energy. You can export renewable energy, not only just fossil fuel. This is a completely new area where you can be the world leader. I've always said that Russia can be the leader of the green future.
- What issues have you discussed at your meeting with RANEPA Vice-Rector Andrei Margolin? Could you share the results of your discussion?
We had a very interesting and productive discussion, and also a very in-depth discussion. I was very impressed by the depth and professionalism of his thinking. One of the most important conclusions is that we need to shift from the quantitative GDP measurements to qualitative ones, and also from short-term considerations to long-term goals. Another very important issue is the Government’s role because its role becomes crucial when shifting towards social development.
Social development just cannot be left up to business. Businesses, by definition, are entities that pursue profit – short-term profit. It's their goal. But the goal of sustainable development is to benefit the government and the people. Of course, businesses should support it, but sustainable development is not their primary job. I am not criticizing them. This is simple division of labor. The role of the government is to arrange support for sustainable development so that businesses can play their game while the government sets the rules.
- In your opinion, what opportunities for cooperation in the field of sustainable development are there between RANEPA, you personally and South Korean universities?
It is the role of the government and the role of business that should be clearly defined. These are the important points we have discussed here. I think there is a huge potential. Nowadays, many Korean Universities create social development centers. For example, I'm a supporter of and advisor to former UN Secretary General, Ban Ki-Moon. He has established a center for sustainable development and also the Ban Ki-moon Foundation for a Better Future in Korea. I am on the Board of Directors for climate change and energy programs at the foundation. The RANEPA finance and sustainable development center was created very recently, and I think it has a huge potential. The institutions I mentioned can collaborate with RANEPA.