Ahn Cheol-soo to visit U.S. to meet Bill Gates

January 5, 2012 11:58 pm 

By Kim Eun-jung

SEOUL, Jan. 5 — Ahn Cheol-soo plans to depart for the United States on Sunday to meet Microsoft founder Bill Gates to receive advice on charitable foundations and discuss the latest trends in information technology, his close aides said Thursday.

Ahn, who currently teaches at the Seoul National University's Graduate School of Convergence Science and Technology, will embark on his trip with fellow professors on Sunday to visit prestigious universities in Silicon Valley in search of new staff for his graduate school, his aides said. The schools include University of California, Berkeley and Stanford University, aides noted, without elaborating how long he plans to stay in the United States.

In addition to meeting with Gates, Ahn has been arranging meetings with global IT company officials in San Francisco and Silicon Valley, home to many of the world's largest technology corporations.

"Ahn plans to get advice from Gates about establishment and management of a charitable foundation and talk about the trends in global information technology," his close aide said.

The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation is the world's largest philanthropic organization that funds programs on health, development and education in developing nations and the United States.

The trip follows the announcement by Ahn, the founder of the nation's largest anti-computer virus software firm AhnLab Inc., in November of his plan to donate half of his 37 percent stake in the firm, estimated at about 300 billion won (US$ 260 million). The medical doctor-turned-entrepreneur said that he wants to help educate students from low-income families and give them the opportunity to move up the social ladder.

The 50-year-old has no prior experience in politics, but speculation has spread that he may consider running for president in this year's election. Ahn, who is popular among young voters for his clean and upright image, gained fame in the 1990s after he established the anti-virus software firm and let others use some of its products for free. (PNA/Yonhap)

DCT/rsm

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