Rotary District 3650 Gov. Yoo hopes to extend reach of Rotary clubs
South Korea’s Rotary clubs have been spearheaded by wealthy businesspeople over the past several decades so as to help the country deal with various social problems.
In this July, however, a famed economist took charge of the clubs to come up with a fresh vision _ expanding the size of Korea’s Rotary clubs to better serve the society.
He is Yoo Jang-hee, the governor of Rotary District 3650. The former professor of Ewha Womans University is practically leading the network of Korea’s Rotary clubs.
“In terms of annual donation, Korea is the No. 2 country in the world among about 200 nations that have Rotary organizations, only chasing the United States,” Yoo said in a recent interview.
“When it comes to the number of members, Korea is No. 4, following the United States, India, and Japan. During my term, I hope that Korea will be able to join the rank of the top three.”
Included in Yoo’s priority lists as a Rotary leader is to support the world’s fight against the novel coronavirus. He calls the efforts “End Corona Rotary Initiative (ECRI)”.
“Korea is regarded as one of the model nations in grappling with COVID-19. As Rotary members in Korea, we are working on various initiatives to contain the virus threat,” Yoo said. “We will share details of ECRI with the world.”
Recently, Yoo and other Korean Rotarians published a book of poems to comfort people who are distressed due to the long struggle against the virus pandemic.
“We gathered famous poems and ones from our members to console our people. The response was much bigger than expected. We will continue to put forth our efforts to help people,” he said.
Yoo is a leading scholar on macroeconomic theory and international economic issues. He headed the Korea Institute for International Economic Policy, a state-run think tank.
Yoo worked as head of the Korean Economic Association and the Korean International Economic Association. He also served as Vice Chairman of the Presidential Advisory Council for National Economy.
He studied economics at Seoul National University. He got his master’s degree in economics from the University of California at Los Angeles and a Ph.D. degree in economics from Texas A&M University.