Korean War Nurse Starts Scholarship For KAIST Students To Study At Sweden’s KTH
By Christine Teo | Academia
December 23, 2011
A Swedish nurse who spent six months in Korea during the Korean War has donated US$100 million to the KTH Royal Institute of Technology.
AsianScientist (Dec. 23, 2011) – In June this year, Swedish couple Rune and Kerstin Jonasson donated 700 million Krona (US$100 million) to KTH Royal Institute of Technology (KTH), representing the largest private donation ever given to the university.
The donation will include a scholarship for Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (KAIST) students to study at KTH in Stockholm.
The couple, who were presented a plaque of appreciation from KTH last week, had requested that a portion of the money be used to promote academic interaction and collaboration with Korean universities.
The 88-year-old Mrs. Kerstin Jonasson, then 28, had served a six-month tour of duty as a nurse in the Korean War in 1951. Since returning from the battlefield, she had been seeking ways to help Korea, and became involved in volunteer activities to strengthen bilateral relations between Korea and Sweden.
“I’ve never forgotten the tragedy of the Korean War that I witnessed as a nurse, even today, more than 60 years later. I’m glad to contribute to a wider cooperation in science and technology between Sweden and Korea,” said Mrs. Jonasson.
“I’m grateful to the Korean people who, over the past 60 years, have consistently expressed their appreciation for my work during the Korean War, and I’m really proud of the fact that they’ve made Korea a great country, reemerging from the destitution of the war as an important power of democracy and economy in the world.
“My husband and I hope that our donation will further enhance the strong ties forged between Sweden and Korea, and that KTH and KAIST will become the centerpiece of a mutually beneficial relationship between the two countries through the advancement of science and technology,” she added.
The details of the scholarship have yet to be finalized, but the fund is expected to be approximately 10 to 15 million Krona (US$1.4–2.1 million) and spread out over five years.
KAIST aims to begin sending students to KTH in the fall of 2012 and will select 10 to 12 graduate students for the exchange program.
Said Chang-Dong Yoo, Associate Vice President of Special Projects & Institutional Relations at KAIST, who presented the couple with the award:
“We feel greatly indebted to the Jonassons, most particularly to Kerstin Jonasson, who came to Korea during the toughest time in our modern history and rendered generous humanitarian assistance to Koreans,” said Yoo.
“Not only that, Mrs. Jonasson has continued to play an important role, up to today, as a ‘Goodwill Ambassador for Korea’ in bringing the two countries closer than ever. This scholarship will provide our students with excellent opportunities to study in Sweden, the home of many great scientists, as well as to experience the robust and vibrant Nordic culture,” he said.
KAIST and KTH have had various student exchange programs in the past. Since 1990, 38 KAIST students have studied at KTH, and 50 KTH students have studied at KAIST.
Disclaimer: This article does not necessarily reflect the views of AsianScientist or its staff.