Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has. (Margaret Mead 1901-1978)
Who am I?
Episcopal High School ’18 (Alexandria, VA)
Quarter-Japanese Korean raised in Tokyo and Seoul
Intern at The Asia Institute
DC coordinator at Global Youth Institute
Co-organizer of AND Project (Japanese-Korean interactive social networks program)
Haegum player (Korean traditional musical instrument)
Minhwa artist (Korean traditional folk art)
English/Japanese tourguide at Gyeongbok Palace in Korea
What is The Asia Institute and Global Youth Institute?
The Asia Institute is a pan-Asia research institution organized by Prof. Emanuel Pastreich from Kyunghee University. As a global think tank, TAI aims to address global issues with a focus on Asia. We are committed to provide a balanced perspective that takes into account the concerns of the entire region. Through discussion on current trends in technology, education, the economy, and international relations, we try to address the problems Asia is facing as a potential intellectual and technological center of the world. I have worked at TAI as an intern, hosting seminars, conducting interviews, and researching on East Asia traditions and education.
Recently, interns of The Asia Institute created an independent youth research group called Global Youth Institute. We try to continue our previous work at The Asia Institute by hosting interviews with professionals in education, technology, and international relations, hosting monthly seminars, and research projects on various issues. We have no doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed young thinkers can definitely enact a change in the world.
One of our main events is the monthly East Asia Youth Leadership Forum for middle-high school students! With a monthly theme ranging from education to technology, around 20 students from Korea, Japan, and China come together in Seoul for a 2-3 day seminar in which they engage in an in-depth discussion about the response to world issues.We believe that students are able to reach the true means of cultural exchange through direct interaction. We’re now hosting the 6th forum in June! Keep up with our updates for the theme, location, and date!
What is AND Project?
Growing up in Korea where people are often surrounded by anti-Japanese sentiment due to territorial disputes and political conflicts, I’ve found out that prejudices and distorted images of Japan are prevalent, often leading to ruling out the cultures without trying to learn who they really are. I often wondered, “What should be done to avoid bias between the two countries?” My answer to the question was to encourage people to be true friends with each other, regardless of where they come from.
A year ago, I co-organized AND Project on Facebook, a social media movement that aims to bridge people from Korea and Japan. With five Japanese and Korean students eager to create connections between people from the two close yet distant countries, we posted pictures of our friends holding a picket that says “I am Korean, and I love Japanese people” and “I am Japanese, and I love Korean people”. Our posts included positive messages from our friends to people and groups from different backgrounds including individuals not only from the two countries but also from outside of Asia and international organizations such as Trilateral Cooperative Secretariat. After a few months of spreading our pictures on Facebook, messages from a variety of people and places soon became viral on Facebook, attracting attentions from people who later shared their own stories of overcoming misunderstanding conflicts and being true friends with each other.
Sharing heart-warming messages with people from places I haven’t been familiar with enabled me to keep myself open. I was able to be friends with whom I may have held prejudices just by their nationality and misconceived notions. Now I came to realize how important it is to be ‘true friends’ with others and be open-minded. This person-to-person interaction would not only allow us to connect each other, but also would be the first step to resolve conflicts that have become obstacles between nations for centuries.
Are you interested in bridging cultures? Why don’t you join us?