Mr. Booyeul KimDirector, Project Malawi
When Booyuel was a college student in Korea, he happened to listen to Prof. Muhammad Yunus (2006 Lobel Peace Laureate) Speech at Microcredit Summit in New York in 1997.
“Only one hundred years back, men were still struggling to find a way to fly. Many people seriously thought men will never fly. Those people who were committed to the idea of flying were looked at as crazy people. In 1903 Wright brothers flew their first plane. It stayed in the air just for 12 seconds. Yes, 12 seconds. At that moment the seed of a new world was planted. Only 60 years later, man confidently went to the moon, picked up moon rocks and returned to the world. Fifty years after this summit, we will also go to our moon. We will create a poverty-free world.” – Prof. Muhammad Yunus
Inspired by Professor Yunus and his speech, Booyuel changed his major from Computer Science to Development Economics. During his senior year, he wrote an economics research paper on ‘Microfinance in advanced countries’ urban settings’. While he was writing this paper, Booyuel could build up a personal mentorship with Prof. Muhammad Yunus.
After graduating a college, he had fulfilled his military duty as an interpreting officer for 40 months at the Republic of Korea Air Force HQ. He had negotiated with defense industry companies such as Boeing and Lockheed Martin for the procurements of multi-billion dollar weapon system. During his duty and seeing the money spent, Booyuel realized that the one tenth of world military spending could make the whole world would have been much better without extreme poverty and diseases.
In 2007, he started his graduate study at Columbia University to learn from Prof. Jeffrey Sachs. After successfully finishing his master degree, he has joined the PhD program in Sustainable Development, which was created in 2004, to further work with Prof. Sachs.
While studying his Economics PhD course works, he has started HIV/AIDS prevention and MCH (Mother-Child-Health) program in Malawi with his colleagues at Columbia University since 2010. This project has received USD 2 million from Korean Government and has benefited over 120,000 people in rural areas of Lilongwe, Malawi. Recently, Booyuel joined the Millennium Villages Project led by Prof. Jeffrey Sachs and he now works on the Gumulira Millennium Village Project, Malawi.
Currently, Booyuel lives in Manhattan, NY with his wife and two daugthers, Minhee and Sehee whose Korean names mean ‘Sunshines to the World’.