Nobel Prize winners will speak in Pyongyang

Korea Joongang Daily
April 19, 2016

Three Nobel Prize winners will visit North Korea on April 29 for one week in order to deliver lectures on science and economics at major universities in Pyongyang, according to a report by Voice of America.

The Nobel Prize winners visit to Pyongyang is scheduled from April 29 to May 6, possibly at the same time as North Koreas 7th Congress of the Workers Party of Korea, which will be held for the first time in 36 years.

However, the event is an exercise in" silent diplomacy" and has no relation to political issues, said Uwe Morawetz, founding chairman of the International Peace Foundation, who organized the event, entitled "Bridges: The Dialogues Toward a Culture of Peace," by visiting Pyongyang six times over the last two years and meeting with the Swedish ambassador to Pyongyang.

He said it is the first event held in Pyongyang that aims to inspire younger generations and develop a long-term relationship between Nobel Prize winners and North Korean educational organizations.

The three Nobel Prize winners are English biochemist Richard Roberts, Norwegian economist Finn Kydland, and Israeli chemist Aaron Ciechanover. Roberts was awarded the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine in 1993, Kydland received the Nobel Memorial Prize in Economics in 2004 and Ciechanover won the Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 2004.

The three scientists will depart from Beijing and arrive in Pyongyang on April 29 and look around the city between April 30 and May 1, visiting sites such as Mirae Scientists Street, where a 53-story skyscraper was built by order of North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, and Mangyongdae, the birthplace of founder Kim Il Sung.

From April 2 to April 6, they will give lectures at Kim Il Sung University, Kim Chaek University of Technology and Pyongyang University of Science and Technology, discussing economic policy and development, medical progress and what it takes to win a Noble Prize.

On May 6, the Nobel Prize winners will arrive in Beijing, where they plan to hold a press conference the following day. American physician Peter Agre, the 2003 Nobel Prize winner in Chemistry who originally planned to join the group to Pyongyang, will remain behind due to a health condition. Agre said late last year in an interview with VOA that the visit is a special program backed by an Austrian figure who hopes to encourage Nobel Prize winners to visit Asian universities.