Choony Kim, a native South Korean, holds a BA in Korean Language and Literature from Chonnam National University, where she focused on Korean modern literature during the Japanese colonial period.
Prior to her arrival at the Yale School of Forestry & Environmental Studies (F&ES), Choony Kim spent 11 years working on international issues for the Korean Federation for Environmental Movement (KFEM, FOE Korea), the first environmental NGO in South Korea. She is one of the pioneers in the Korean NGO movement, and she is dedicated to introducing international environmental issues to South Korea, while simultaneously making South Korean environmental issues known to the international community. To do this, she has collaborated with 53 local groups, over 100 overseas environmental organisations, UN agencies, and diplomats from various countries. She has addressed many policy issues, such as global climate change, protection of migratory birds threatened in the Korean West Seas, desertification prevention, and conservation efforts in the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) between South and North Korea. In addition, she has extensive experience working with UN agencies, including the United Nations Environment Program and United Nations Development Program, with which she implemented an awareness-raising program for protection of the Tumen River (a border area involving North Korea, China and the Russian Federation). These experiences gave her invaluable insights into how to realize sustainable development.
Choony Kim's studies at Yale have focused on policy, economics and law, with courses ranging from the fundamentals of natural resource management to environmentally sustainable living. The academic setting gave her the opportunity to combine her past NGO experience with theoretical and hands-on academic inquiry.
Choony Kim considered her summer fellowship at Ecologic to be a highlight of her professional life. She valued the opportunity to engage in firsthand learning of progressive environmental policies in European nations, such as Geographical Indicators and Ecological Tax Reform.
Choony Kim earned her master’s degree in environmental management in May of 2007. Her ultimate goal is to influence governmental and corporate decision-making, making every sector change its daily practices in a way that will change the planet for the better.