At an informal ceremony set against the busy backdrop of the IAEA´s 51st General Conference, the Republic of Korea quietly made a unique donation to the Programme of Action for Cancer Therapy (PACT). Handing over a cheque for $10,000, Young Shik Kim, Director General of the Korean Atomic Energy Bureau, said: "The amount is small but has great significance. It was raised within one month, entirely from voluntary contributions."
Mr. Kim explained that at a conference in Seoul commemorating the IAEA´s 50th anniversary, an initiative was launched encouraging Koreans to give $1 to benefit PACT´s efforts to fight cancer in the developing world. Ten thousand individuals stepped up to the plate. "In the future, we will call on regular donors to support this one dollar effort," Mr. Kim continued. "Next year, we expect to come to you with a much more impressive sum."
Accepting the cheque on behalf of PACT, Werner Burkart, IAEA Deputy Director General, Head of the Department of Nuclear Sciences and Applications, said the IAEA was deeply honoured by the gesture. "This is a very important step for PACT because it represents the first time that individuals, rather than governments or large organisations, have been moved to voluntarily contribute towards its activities. Such a gesture at this early stage in PACT´s work is very important."
In the course of the brief ceremony, Mr. Kim added that Korea is making significant progress towards developing a Cyclotron for use in the treatment of cancer. The country is also putting its considerable technical know-how towards the development of various advanced medical applications.