KASCON 23 at UPenn was a great success. There was definitely a lot of excitement this year and this was evident by the larger than expected turnout. I was also inspired by the many Korean-Americans who came to speak and share their experiences and wisdom. When I was back in college during the early 90s, there weren’t to many Korean-Americans who were going beyond traditional professions (i.e., doctor, lawyer, etc.). However, today there are many second generation Korean-Americans who are succeeding in many areas of work that we probably thought was not possible from entertainment to politics. We met inspiring people like Becky Lee, James Sun, Ted Chung, Patty Kim, Michelle Rhee and many more. Take a look at the video below and experience a little bit of KASCON 23.
If you were in elementary school, would you leave the comforts of your home, family and friends and study in a foreign land? In Phillipsburg at the Saints Philip and James School, students opened up their classes to twelve young South Korean students for a cultural exchange program.
Eileen Dean, the fourth grade teacher at the school, said of the program, “I admire the respect and discipline these Korean students have for education. The students in the class seemed in awe of David (and Sally as well) in how they traveled across the world to join us at Saints Philip and James, leaving their families and friends. My students were drawn to both Korean students who entered our classroom in September. They were curious about the Korean culture, customs and the language. Read more>
We all know of the many Koreans who have come from abroad to study in the U.S. Well when was the last time you heard of a 20 year old blonde girl from Florida go to Korea for an internship? That’s the story of Brittany Pavese, a college student who’s going to trek 7,500 miles to South Korea for a marketing internship. You gotta give her credit because she doesn’t speak any Korean and is leaving the comforts of palm trees and strip malls for Lotte and kimchi. My only advice is stay away from the soju or make sure you have a handful of advil for the next morning. Read the story …
Kpop meets Harvard Square this past week. The very large girl group from South Korea – Girls Generation/SNSD – dropped by Harvard Law School to teach many of the students how they could forge a future in Kpop.
The Purdue Korean Cultural Club is hosting a culture festival which will begin at 7 tonight in Beering Hall, Room 2290. The movies “Seven Days” and “Radio Head” will be shown in English subtitles free of charge.
The organization will also be hosting another event on Saturday from 11:30 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. at University Church. There will be Korean food, a martial arts performance and a percussion performance. This is the third year for the film festival, but Saturday’s event with food and entertainment is a new addition.
“We began working on a rough idea for the cultural festival 10 months ago,” said Hwun Park, a graduate student and the president of the organization. Read>
The Chosun Ilbo makes note of how many Korean-Americans have influenced President Obama. Here’s a quick roster of influential Korean Americans in the Obama administration:
Eugene Kang – Special Assistant to President Obama – holder of his calender. The only one aboard Air Force One who is of Korean descent and also named one of President Obama’s 52 most trusted people according to the New York Times.
Harold Hongju Koh – Dean of Yale Law School and soon to be top legal adviser to the state department. Also speculated to be a possible Supreme Court nominee – could be the first official Asian-American nominee.
Michelle Rhee – Chancellor of the DC public school system who is subtly referenced by President Obama for her radical reforms.
Other peeps in the administration: Christopher Kang, Elizabeth Kim, Helen Hong, Anna Kim
Ms. Rhee, 39, who became Washington’s sixth school superintendent in 10 years, has ousted one-third of the district’s principals, shaken up the system, created untold enemies, improved test scores, and — more than almost anyone else — dared to talk openly about the need to replace ineffective teachers.
Nicholas Kristof of the New York Times writes an Op-Ed on Ms. Rhee’s ambition to transform the most dysfunctional school district in America to something much higher. Many have opposed her efforts but that is inevitable when one challenges the status quo. Her directness has been misinterpreted as being abrasive but when in reality, she’s simply not sugarcoating the facts: The Washington D.C. school system is failing their students.
“D.C. is known as the most dysfunctional and worst-performing school district in the country,” she said, noting that the failures are particularly acute for poor students and members of minority groups. A black child from a low-income family in Washington enters kindergarten at the same level as a comparable child in New York City but is two years behind by the fourth grade, she said. Read more>
Jim Yong Kim became the first Asian-American to head up an Ivy league institution. He will become the president of Dartmouth college on July 1st. Jim Yong Kim, 49, is a former director of the HIV/AIDS department of the World Health Organization where he was credited with helping expand access to lifesaving treatment in the developing world.
Mr. Jim Yong Kim wasn’t your ordinary Korean immigrant. He first came to the United States at the age of 5, arriving in Iowa. He later attended public school and even played quarterback for his high school. Now that’s pretty cool. In 2006, he was named Time Magazine’s 100 most influential people. What an amazing year. We have our first black president and now a Korean has ascended to the helm of an Ivy league institution. Things are changing!