This year, Sweden and the Republic of Korea celebrate 60 years of diplomatic relations. What a good time to open an Office of Science and Innovation, and how proud I am to be the first Swedish Science and Innovation Counsellor to be placed at the Swedish Embassy in Seoul!
Please, let me briefly introduce myself. My name is Anders Hektor and I have been working with technology and social development in different ways for several years. Most recently, at the Ministry of Enterprise and Innovation at the Swedish government, where I have been supporting the political leadership on policies for ICT and digital development. My background include academic research and I have a PhD in Technology and Social Change from Linköping University. I have lived outside of Sweden as a student, as a researcher and as a working professional. This will be the first time for me to live in the Republic of Korea, but travels have taken me there a few times and I have always enjoyed these visits.
Korean people have often impressed me with a strong drive and sense of direction. On a visit in Seoul in 2005, I heard of a politically formulated “20,000 dollar vision”, which referred to the goal of raising the level of GDP per capita to 20,000 USD. At the time it was around 14,000 and today it’s at least 30,000 USD, well over the level of many European countries. The whole world is also familiar with many Korean brands and different aspects of Korean culture. These are all very impressive achievements, especially considering the lack of natural resources and limited geographical size. It is the Korean people doing this – getting nothing for free but building it on their own. Wow!
I am very much looking forward to getting to know the Korean innovation and social system better and I believe there are a lot our countries can learn from each other. We often have very good metrics on comparisons of innovation and digital development but there are things the Republic of Korea does better than others and there are things Sweden does better than others. My job, and the job of my colleagues at the Office of Science and Innovation, will be that the Republic of Korea and Sweden will learn from each other by working together on innovation, higher education and research, and that this learning will further build the social and economic prosperity of our countries and regions.
During the spring I will be travelling back and forth between Sweden and the Republic of Korea. Please do not hesitate to contact me or the secretariat if you are interested in learning more about the Offices of Science and Innovation, or if you have an idea on how we can strengthen our bilateral co-creation, solving our common societal challenges.
I am looking forward to meeting you!