Cho Soon Interview: Conversations with History; Institute of International Studies, UC Berkeley

Governing a Global City; Conversation with Cho Soon, Mayor of Seoul; 4/25/96 by Harry Kreisler
Photo by L. Carper

Page 5 of 5

Lessons Learned

Coming back to the campus is a time to recollect. When you look back, could you have ever of guessed that with your Ph.D. in hand that you would be the first democratic mayor?

No, no, not at all. Up until one and a half years ago, I never thought of becoming the Mayor of Seoul, so this is one of those surprises that occur in one's life. Of course there is no predicting what will happen to your future.

What are the lessons of your career that you would like to pass on to students, or others who might be watching this interview, about preparing for their futures?

Well, they have to learn the technical skills of their particular trade at the university, but on the other hand, a particular skill or knowledge or trade will fade away fairly quickly in this world, in which everything changes so quickly, so that what is important for young people is to have a sound vision or sound understanding and the ability to maintain flexibility in developing their career rather than sticking to the particular matter that they acquire or learn during their university days.

And I guess it's also going to be very important to understand different cultures and different people and different ways of life.

Absolutely. Because when you do business, your market is not limited to the local market. You have to think about the overseas market all the time, even though the United States is a very large country.

Now one final question for you, Mr. Mayor. There is always talk of prominent mayors in this country running for national office. Do you think that is in your future?

I don't think so. I have been concentrating all of my ability to grapple with the problems that the city of Seoul has, so my time horizon really is limited to two more years which will terminate my tenure as mayor.

So you will be available in two years, perhaps to return to Berkeley as a visiting Regents Lecturer -- by then you will be tired of governing a major city!

I would be very happy to come back.

Mr. Mayor, thank you very much. It was a great honor to have you here today.

Thank you very much, Mr. Kreisler.

And thank YOU very much for joining us for this conversation on international affairs.

© Copyright 1996, Regents of the University of California

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