Kaist expresses appreciation to a Swedish nurse served in the Korean War and donated a scholarship

December 19, 2011

The largest private donation ever given to KTH Royal Institute of Technology in Stockholm, Sweden, will include a scholarship for KAIST students to study there.

"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 the donor.

Daejeon, Republic of Korea, December 19, 2011-- On Monday, December 19th, 2011 at 4:00 pm (Central European Time), at KTH Royal Institute of Technology (KTH) in Stockholm, KAIST (Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology) presented a plaque of appreciation to a Swedish couple, Rune and Kerstin Jonasson, whose generous donation will establish a scholarship fund for KAIST students.

In late June of 2011, the Jonassons donated 700 million Krona ($100 million USD) to KTH, the largest lump sum donation ever given to the university by an individual, and the couple requested that a portion of the money be used to promote academic interaction and collaboration with Korean universities. KTH had various student exchange programs with KAIST, and with the financial support from the Jonassons, the two universities have decided to invite KAIST students to study at KTH.

Enjoying a long tradition of excellence in higher education in Asia and Northern Europe, KAIST and KTH have continued to lead the development of science and technology through top-notch educational programs, dynamic research experiences, technological innovation, and highly skilled and motivated manpower. The two global research universities expect that the scholarship program will add another dimension to already expanding exchanges.

Kerstin Jonasson, 88 years old, came to Korea in 1951 when she was 28, and served a six-month tour of duty as a nurse in the Korean War. Recalling her past, Mrs. Jonasson said, "The calamity of the war remains deeply engraved in my mind." Ever since returning from the battlefield, she has been seeking ways to help Korea, and has thus been regularly involved in volunteer activities to strengthen bilateral relations between Korea and Sweden.

Chang-Dong Yoo, Associate Vice President of Special Projects & Institutional Relations at KAIST, thanked the couple while presenting them with the award on behalf of KAIST family including President Nam-Pyo Suh.

"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. 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."

In response, Kerstin Jonasson said:

"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."

The details of the scholarship have yet to be finalized, but the fund is expected to be approximately 10 to 15 million Krona ($1.4~$2.1 million USD) to be spread out over five years. KAIST aims to begin sending students to KTH in the fall of 2012, and will select 10~12 graduate students for the exchange program. Since 1990, 38 KAIST students have studied at KTH, and 50 KTH students have studied at KAIST.

The Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (KAIST)

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