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This Year’s Inchon Award Winners Announced

Posted September. 13, 2005 07:33,   


The 19th Inchon Award winners have been announced. This year marks the 114th anniversary of Kim Sung-soo, the founder of the award, whose penname is “Inchon.” The awards go to those who have made notable achievements in the press and publishing, industrial technology, natural science, and humanities fields. The screening process for the award is carried out by a group of four or five experts in each category over a three-month period. The winners` achievements and their remarks are being introduced here to try and convey the meaning of the Inchon Award.

Press and Publishing Award Goes to Kwanhun Club --

The fact that the Kwanhun Club (Director: Park Jeong-chan, Chief of the Yonhap News Management and Planning Division), an organization made up of leading senior journalists, has been selected as the winner in the press and publishing category is exceptional. This is the first time that an organizational entity has received the Inchon Award. This illustrates that the Kwanhun Club has had a great impact on the development of Korean journalism.

The Kwanhun Club was founded in 1957 to overcome the destitute reality of the Korean press. From its inception, the Club has been engaged in activities that propagate universal standards to the press such as stylebook research, the development of Korean stylistics, and the promotion of journalism ethics. It also deals with problems that arise during news coverage.

Furthermore, the Kwanhun Discussions contribute to building social consensus. In particular, during the presidential election in 1987, four candidates in the election, including Roh Tae-woo, Kim Young-sam, Kim Dae-Jung, and Kim Jong-pil were invited to a discussion and asked critical questions. This has influenced the development of an election culture and the establishment of a democratic discussion culture.

The Club’s support for journalists had also been immense. Through the Shinyoung Journalism Fund, which was established in 1977 by the late Chung Ju-young to commemorate his brother, journalist Chung Shin-young, the club has supported 760 research projects and their publications, and the overseas training of 67 journalists.

Director Park said, "I think the reason we received the Inchon Prize is because members from different affiliations have stuck together to lead the press. We are going to establish a council of seven people to discuss the club`s future with a view to prepare for the 50th anniversary of its inception in 2007."


Since its foundation in 1957, it has greatly contributed to the quality of journalists and the freedom of the press. It also played a pioneering role in establishing journalistic ethics and internationalizing news coverage. Since 1977, it has invited a number of prominent leaders and specialists, both Korean and foreign, to about 130 discussions to provide a forum for public discourse. It has done various works such as enacting the Code of Press Ethics and training journalists to improve the status and quality of journalism in Korea.

Chung Mong-koo Wins Industrial Technology Prize --

“Thank you very much for honoring me with this meaningful prize. I really appreciate it and I’ll accept this on behalf of all automobile industry workers,” said Chung.

The Hyundai-Kia Automotive Group chairman said that he would understand the prize as support that encourages him to push forward for the continued development of the Korean automobile industry and the nation’s economic development, and that he would do his best to grow Hyundai-Kia Automotive Group into the world’s best automaker.

Chung has been recognized for his quality management skills and field management that many believe have brought the Korean automobile industry one step closer to the rank of advanced nations, enhancing price competitiveness and even helping the nation recover from a financial crisis.

“Whenever possible, I visited research institutes and factories. I have made great efforts to share the idea with workers that improved quality was the top priority of our company,” said Chung.

Chung has faith in the customer as the basic building block of corporate management. “The most important thing is to provide customers with the best quality, technology, and service, along with trust and confidence.”

The ceremony for the completion of Hyundai’s Alabama plant in the U.S. last May was definitely an unforgettable moment for him.

“Hyundai built an automobile manufacturing plant in the U.S., the largest battlefield of the world’s advanced automobile makers. That was a sign Hyundai had grown large enough to compete confidently with world-class makers in the center of the automobile market,” said Chung.

He also emphasized that the most significant social responsibility of a corporation is job creation and national economic development. In that sense, he happily expressed his pride in working for the automobile industry, an industry that is able to have beneficial effects on the nation’s overall economy. He said that he was proud of this as a Korean as well.


Chung graduated from the Hanyang University College of Engineering. He was president of the Hyundai Motor Service in 1974 and since then, he has been on the path to CEO. Following his appointment to the post of chairman of the Hyundai Group in 1996, Chung has been the chairman of Hyundai-Kia Automotive Group since 1998. He has been recognized for his 30 years of work that have greatly improved the international competitiveness of Korea’s basic industries, including the vehicle, railroad, and machine industries.

The U.S. magazine “Business Week” selected Chung as its 2004 CEO of the year in the automobile industry.

Natural Science Winner Hwang Woo-suk --

“There is no bigger encouragement than this. I will accept it as a request that I should focus on research for national development.”

Hwang Woo-suk (52), the winner of the natural science category and a Seoul National University professor, has received science awards at least 10 times this year both at home and abroad.

He said, however, that being the winner of this award has a special meaning to him. That is because he received an award which embodies the philosophy of Inchon, who constructed learning and the media based on patriotism under Japanese colonial rule.

Hwang has produced research achievements that have shaken the global bioengineering community starting last year. Among them is the extraction of human embryonic stem cells, which induced praise from the world by offering the possibility of cures of various serious diseases without rejection symptoms from the immune system.

“I’m currently jointly engaged in applied research of stem cells with some 10 research teams in the world. When it comes to stem cells, Korea is enjoying firm prestige.”

A British scientist who is following Hwang’s work closely said, “Korea’s stem cells can be likened to the Mercedes Benz of cars.”

Another special project that Hwang is pushing ahead with is the production of cloned pigs for the purpose of organ transplants.

Four countries, Korea, the U.S., the U.K., and Japan, are intensely competing with one another in that area. The challenge of the research is to transform three or four genes at the same time to prevent possible immune system rejection symptoms when transplanting organs to humans.


After receiving a doctorate in veterinary medicine from Seoul National University, Hwang has been working as a professor of veterinary medicine at SNU since 1986. He yielded world-class research achievements, including the extraction of human embryonic stem cells last February and this May, and the production of “Snuppy,” a cloned dog, this August.

He won an Order of Science and Technology Merit (2004) award and an award for Korea’s greatest scientist (2004), and was selected as a role-model scientist in 2002.

Kim U-chang Wins Social and Human Sciences Category --

“I feel uncomfortable receiving this award because I am just an amateur. There are many who deserve this award,” said Kim U-chang.

Kim U-chang, 68, an honorary professor of Korea University who received this year’s Inchon Award in the social and human sciences category, called himself an amateur and said the award was given to him because he was born in an “unsophisticated era.” He humbly explained that readers were lenient on an “amateur’s writings” because they were busy tackling more urgent challenges such as the nation’s democratization and industrialization.

Kim, who is famous as a literary critic and English scholar, has interests in a variety of fields such as art, social science, and philosophy. His thinking is enriched by extensive readings that ensure his delicate reasoning.

This is why people value his works as objects that show how beautiful the Korean language can be. Thus, many call his writing style “aesthetic rationalism.”

“If rationalism presents a framework that builds the discipline of community life, an aesthetic is necessary when applying this discipline to the real world. Rationalism created law, but when applying the law to real society, arbitrary judgments depending on context (beyond the law) are needed, which is what I call aesthetics,” said Kim.

Kim is the president of the organization committee for the Guest of Honor Korea Frankfurt Book Fair 2005 that starts next month, as well as a vice-chairman of the World Comparative Literature Assembly, which will be held in Italy in the middle of this month. Despite his busy schedule, his quest for study didn’t fade.

“I would like to reinterpret Korea’s traditional culture through modern eyes. For example, I am wondering why they didn’t have professional literary experts during the Joseon Dynasty despite the fact that poetry was included in the civil examination held at that time,” said Kim.


Kim has made a great contribution to the development of social and human sciences in Korea by actively working as a critic and professor. He also pioneered a new era through which the fields of Korean literature and social and human sciences was developed to be more delicate and sophisticated ones, which has been a strong intellectual influence to the following generation.

Kim graduated from the English department of Seoul National University and obtained a PhD. from Harvard University in 1975. Afterwards, he served as a professor of English at Korea University from 1974 to 2002 after teaching at Seoul National University and the State University of New York at Buffalo.