Enterprise and education links were strengthened between Kingston and South Korea after the institution hosted a delegation of key business leaders from the country.
The importance of developing such strong global partnerships was highlighted by Kingston University’s Pro Vice-Chancellor for International Professor Ron Tuninga.
The historic visit saw representatives from the Chamber of Commerce from the Jinju Province sign a Memorandum of Understanding with Kingston Chamber of Commerce, before being given an introduction to Kingston Business School and a tour of the University’s state-of-the-art engineering facilities at the Roehampton Vale campus.
The agreement will promote the development of partnerships and trade links between businesses in both Kingston and Jinju, according to Professor Tuninga – who is also Dean of Kingston Business School – with the University exploring opportunities for international placements and showcasing some of the courses and facilities prospective Korean students could benefit from.
Chairman of Jinju Chamber of Commerce Mr Ha Kae-baek was impressed by the state-of-the-art 3D printer in the School of Engineering at Kingston University.
“Developing strong international partnerships is key to ensuring the University continues to attract the best global talent and increase its growing reputation on the world stage,” he said. “We have a strong international focus, with our staff, students and alumni now representing more than 150 countries. The University plays a significant role in the cultural and economic development of the Royal Borough of Kingston upon Thames and we welcomed the opportunity to explore the mutual benefits of forging stronger links with our friends from the Jinju Chamber of Commerce.”
The event followed a visit by Kingston delegates to South Korea last October to explore potential links between the two regions. Kingston borough has the largest Korean population in the United Kingdom, and with Jinju Province playing a major role in global aerospace and car manufacturing industries, South Korean businesses have expressed an interest in forging links that would lead to more of their budding young engineers being trained at Kingston University.
After meeting Kingston Mayor Councillor Julie Pickering and Kingston and Surbiton MP Sir Ed Davey in the morning, the delegation heard from Professor Tuninga, who outlined the entrepreneurial accolades of Kingston University graduates as well as the potential opportunities for student placements around the world.
“The Jinju Chamber of Commerce shares our vision for creating wide-ranging enterprise links in partnership with Kingston Council,” he said. “We look forward to continue developing this relationship and exploring increased placement and international networking opportunities for our students – as well as offering the chance for Korean workers to come over and study at our summer school on campus.”
Chairman of the Jinju Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Mr Ha Kae-baek, said the delegation had enjoyed seeing the facilities on offer and hearing from both Professor Tuninga and Dr Peter Barrington, head of the Department of Aerospace and Engineering. “It was a great pleasure to sign the Memorandum of Understanding and visit the campuses of Kingston University,” he said. “Our delegation received a really warm welcome, and we look forward to extending our friendship with Kingston Borough and the University.”
The event also saw the exchange of gifts between Jinju and Kingston University, with Professor Tuninga presenting Mr Ha with a tie designed and made by Kingston School of Art students with Mr Ha offering a silk scarf in return.
Leader of Kingston Council, Councillor Kevin Davis, spoke of how the link-up would provide mutual benefits for Jinju Chamber of Commerce, Kingston borough and the University. “The Korean community in Kingston is really important for us, and having visited Jinju in 2016 we really hope to be able to share ideas about business development between the two towns and our countries. Kingston University has a major role to play in this by delivering an educational platform for overseas students, and equipping them with the skills to succeed in a global working environment.”