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Han Seung-soo

Former Prime Minister, Republic of Korea


Han Seung-soo served as Prime Minister of Republic of Korea (2008-09). He is currently UN Secretary-General’s Special Envoy on Disaster Risk Reduction and Water (2013-), Member of the UN Secretary-General’s Advisory Board on Water and Sanitation (UNSGAB) (2007-) and Founding Chair of High-Level Experts and Leaders Panel on Water and Disasters (HELP)(2007-). He was Special Envoy of the UN Secretary-General on Climate Change (2007-08), Member of the UN Secretary-General’s High-Level Panel on Global Sustainability(GSP)(2010-12), Founding Chair of Global Green Growth Institute (GGGI)(2010-12) and Chair of the 2009 OECD Ministerial Council Meeting in Paris where the resolution of Declaration on Green Growth was unanimously adopted on 25 June 2009.

He was President of the 56th Session of the United Nations General Assembly (2001-02), Korea’s Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade (2001-02), Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance and Economy (1996-97), Chief of Staff to the President (1994-95), Korean Ambassador to the United States (1993-94) and Minister of Trade and Industry (1988-90). He was a three-term Member of Korean National Assembly (1988-1992, 1996-2004) directly elected by the people of his hometown of Chuncheon, Gangwon-do Province.

Educated at Yonsei University(BA), Seoul National University(MPA) and the University of York, England(Ph.D.1968/D.Univ.1997), and prior to his entry into politics in 1988, he had a distinguished academic career as Professor of Economics at Seoul National University (1970-88), taught economics and/or did research at the Universities of York (1965-68), Cambridge(Emmanuel College) (1968-70), Harvard  (1985-86) and Tokyo (1986-87), and has honorary degrees from the Universities of York, Gangwon National, Yonsei and KAIST.

He is currently, among others, Senior Adviser at Kim & Chang law office, Independent Non-Executive Director of Standard Chartered plc, Temasek International Panel Emeritus Member, Club de Madrid and Maureen and Mike Mansfield Foundation Board Member, Vice-Chair of Zayed Future Energy Prize Jury, Co-Chair of International Finance Forum(China) and Executive Adviser to Gangwon Information & Multimedia Corporation. He was Chairman of the 2014 PyeongChang Winter Olympics Games Bid Committee.

He was awarded, among many domestic and foreign decorations and prizes, the 6th European Communities Prize in 1971(for his doctoral thesis on the Growth and Function of the European Budget), Nobel Peace Prize on behalf of the United Nations in 2001 and an honorary Knight Commander of the Order of the British Empire (KBE) from HM Queen Elizabeth II of the United Kingdom in 2004.

He has many publications both in Korean and English, the most recent one being Beyond the Shadow of 9/11; A Year at the United Nations General Assembly(SAIS, Washington, DC, 2007).