Established prevention-focused environment policy direction based on a 21st century vision and resolve major challenges in each field Played leadership role in enhancing the role of science and technology for the future and the implementation of alternative science and technology policies
Kim Myung Ja
Honorary president, Korean Federation of Science and Technology Societies (1944~ )
- Academic background
1962 ~ 1966
B.S., Dept. of Chemistry, College of Humanities and Sciences, Seoul National Univ.
1967 ~ 1971
Ph.D., Graduate School, University of Virginia
- Professional career
1974 ~ 1999
Professor & Dean, College of Sciences, Sookmyung Women's Univ.
1999 ~ 2003
Minister of Environment
2004 ~ 2008
Member of Parliament, 17th National Assembly
2017 ~ 2020
President, Korea Federation of Science and Technology Societies
2018 ~ today
International Advisor, Asia Infrastructure Investment Bank
Science and Technology Award, Promotion Award
Science and Technology “Person To Be and To Imitate” Award, Korea Science and Culture Foundation
Order of Service Merit, Blue Stripes
Order of Science and Technology Merit, Creation Medal
Proud SNU Alumnus Award (Seoul National Univ.)
Samsung Happiness Grand Prize, Women Leader Award, Samsung Foundation
President Kim a leader in science and technology in Korea who has a distinguished record in the development of the natural and applied sciences and in environmental science. She contributed to the integration and convergence of fields of science and the humanities and she introduced the concept of sustainable development in Korea, and has sought for progressive solutions in science, technology, and environmental policies.
Helped KOFST to advance via Academic Vision Plan, by organizing over 300 forums, the Science Plaza, etc.
She was born in Seoul just before the Liberation of Korea. She enjoyed writing and thanks to her father's influence and advice she chose the path of natural science. In that process, she came to believe that there must be more women active in that field which was assumed to be dominated by men.
The unique conditions of Korea, and her personal experience, resulted in her living a life quite different from those of other scientists. First, she began to pay attention to the history of science, not just research itself, and environmental issues during the politically turbulent 1980s. For example, she participated in a cross-disciplinary course on the history of science and scientific philosophy. That experience led her to emphasize the history of science. She also took dialog between science and the humanities seriously, participating in symposiums on environmental issues hosted by the Korea Science Writers Association.
She was appointed as the Minister of Environment in 1999 and played a critical role in setting national policies and highlighting issues. She demonstrated outstanding leadership in implementing the policies on science and technology and the environment. Her innovations suggest a unique understanding of integration and convergence related to a female sensitivity concerning fields of science and technology.
It was at the time that she served on the National Science and Technology Advisory Committee that she was appointed as Minister of Environment in 1999 and she introduced progressive policies, coordinating so as to avoi d conflicts of interest. He proposals include the Comprehensive Management Plan for Nakdong-gang River, the Special Law on Three Major Rivers, the implementation of natural gas powered buses, the introduction of the Extended Producer Responsibility system, the Eco-2 Project for co-existence of economy and environment, the special measures for improving metropolitan area's air quality, Next Generation Core Environment Technology Development Project, the Korea, China and Japan Environment Ministers Annual Conference, the 2002 Environment World Cup, etc. Under her guidance, the Ministry of the Environment was selected as the best ministry at the 1st and 2nd evaluations on governmental departments and was praised for establishing a framework for 21st century Korean environmental policies. These achievements resulted in her serving for the longest term of office for a minister of the Government and the longest term of office for female minister (44 months) in Korean history.
One of her great interests was the promotion of women in science and technology and efforts to improve their status in Korean society. In 2012, upon assuming the position of President of Korea Federation of Women's Science and Technology Associations, she launched numberous efforts for the purpose of promoting a vision of 'Communication and convergence, and science diplomacy'. Those activities included the Korea, China, Japan Female Scientists Atomic Energy Forum, the International Forum/Parents Workshop/Youth Seminar on Internet Addiction, the International Forum of Asian Female Scientists on Biodiversity, cooperation programs with Korean female scientists in USA, etc. During her term of office as the Chairwoman of the Center for Women in Science, Engineering and Technology, she made great efforts to develop programs to solve the problem of discontinuity in the professional careers of women. In recognition of her achievements, including he activities in the field of science and technology, and in the media, she received a plaque of appreciation from the Korea Female Reporters Association.
Pushed for major conversion in environment policies including Special Law on the three Major Rivers, use of natural gas powered buses, the Eco-2 Project, etc.
In 2017, she became the first female to head the Korea Federation of Science and Technology Societies, a large organization for public-private collaboration in policy, and she promoted a variety of innovative programs to enhance the status the federation as well as advancing it forward for future development. Her innovations included organizational restructuring and improvements in the administrative culture. Critical achievements of President Kim’s tenure include preparation of a Roadmap on Academic Vision for Three Major Basic Areas and a Mid- and Long-term Roadmap on Basic Source Technology Research, organizing over 300 forums and expert conferences, construction of Science Plaza, expansion of Korea Science and Technology Annual Conference, establishment of Science and Technology ODA Center, etc. She practiced leadership on science and technology, performing the role of a speaker delivering opening remarks on critical issues for the future such as the Fourth Industrial Revolution, the sustainable development of the human community, a new role for science and technology during a period of great transition, etc. She drove the science and technology sector to take the lead on issues concerning national science and technology for the future and to present policy alternatives in advance of other players.
Published over 20 books (including original writing and translations) on science, society, environment, and civilization
Another her accomplishments during her career are broad writings including over 20 books. Her translations include that of Thomas Kuhn’s "The Structure of Scientific Revolutions" and Jeremy Rifkin’s "Entropy" in 1981. Her first major book was "Science Traditions and the Environmental Movement in the East and West" (1991). Since then, she continued publishing at a rapid pace, books such as "Modern Society and Science" (1992), "World of Science and Technology" (1998), "Atomic Energy Dilemma" (2011), "Atomic Energy Trilemma" (2013, co-author), "Saving Our Kids from the Ocean of Internet" (2013, editor), "Dilema of Used Nuclear Fuel" (2014, co-author), "Reading World History and the Indusrial Revolution" (2019), "Pandemic and Civilization" (2020), etc. In the beginning of 1990s, she hosted a TV program, "Science 2001" of KBS, to present solutions for resolving the crisis of human civilization and sustainable development through insights on science and society that came from a perspective of convergence. She won the 1st Writing Award by Korea Science Writers Association, Science and Technology Award (Promotion Award), selection of Best Science Book for these remarkable books.
President Kim takes 'Exert all your effort and wait for Heaven’s decision' as her motto in life and she has done her best always based on a high standard of integrity and truthfulness. She has left her traces in numerous fields related to science and technology, playing a critical role in academia, government administration, the National Assembly, science and technology organizations, NGOs, journalism, etc. It is characteristic of her that she exercised in her leadership a strong commitment to rationality and sensibility that is based on a perspective valuing convergence and integration, as well as the scientific method. She believes strongly that the human must be first and foremost in our society. These achievements distinguish her as a future-oriented science and technology leader who seeks sustainable development for science, the environment and society, guiding the fields of science and technology forward with a soft, but robust, leadership.