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Embassy Youth Forum

Daniel Dae Kim Youth Forum

With Actor Daniel Dae Kim. (I'm on his right side with the blue tote bag.)

The US Embassy American Center in Seoul hosts a youth forum called 'Real People Talking' every month. The center invites speakers to discuss US-Korea relations with college and graduate students. Due to the 2012 Yeosu World Exposition in Korea this summer, many diplomats and celebrities have been visiting Korea and I've had the honor to meet a few of them through the American Center in Seoul.


About a month ago, Actor Daniel Dae Kim was the speaker at the forum titled "Reflections of a Korean American TV & Film Professional".  He was visiting as the Cultural Ambassador for the U.S. Pavilion at the Yeosu World Expo. As a LOST and Hawaii-five-0 fan, I couldn't miss out on this opportunity.

Despite his serious character on television, Daniel Dae Kim was very charming in person. Many students were intimidated at first but his witty sense of humor kept all of us engaged in the forum. 

Throughout the discussion, Daniel Dae Kim repeatedly emphasized the importance of hard work. He explained that there are so many things in this world that you can't control, so don't even bother worrying about them since it doesn't change anything. Focus on things you can control indefinitely, one of which is hard work. 

James Zumwalt

Left: Forum speaker, James Zumwalt, Deputy Assistant Secretary of State
Right: Moderator, Brent Byers, Minister-Counselor for Foreign Affairs, U.S. Embassy Seoul.

Last week, I also had the opportunity to meet James Zumwalt, Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Japan and Korea affairs. The topic was: "The U.S. in Asia: What Does The Pivot Really Mean?" The panelists brought up sensitive topics such as the DPRK nuclear missile launch and the Sea of Japan naming dispute, but Deputy Zumwalt wasn't afraid to address those concerns and carefully listened to the students' opinion as well.

Since I'm an international relations major, these youth forums are important and useful since I get to meet diplomats and ambassadors experienced in foreign affairs. I also network with many intelligent students who I may want to keep in touch later. Furthermore, these events are free and you can attend as long as you RSVP beforehand. 

Many embassies offer youth forums all over the world. If you are residing in major city this summer and interested in international politics, why don't you check them out?

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