On Tuesday, December 9, 2014, I had the honor of attending a reception celebrating a permanent photo exhibit from returned Peace Volunteers from Korea (many now members of the Friends of Korea) and the Korea International Cooperation Agency (KOICA) in the Peace Corps Headquarters in Washington, D.C.
The Peace Corps photos might be strange to some of my millennial peers, but I was used to seeing these black and white photos. The reason: my dad was a volunteer in Korea in the late 70's. To me, each photo reflected the passion and sincerity of the volunteers’ efforts from long ago – creating a bond so strong that it endures four decades after the Peace Corps left Korea!
Although I was not a Peace Corps volunteer, I would like to think that I shared some of the same emotions today as the volunteers who served in Korea.
It was also wonderful to see the KOICA pictures as part of the permanent display. The tradition and dedication of the Peace Corps Volunteers continues in the world – except now it carries a Korean passion and perspective. When I was studying at Ohio State, I learned about the concept “multiplier effect.” Today, I saw it in action – through the KOICA pictures.
One of my father’s former students, Mr. Byunghong Park (박병홍), was also in attendance. Mr. Park now works at the Korean Embassy in Washington. Even though it was a long time ago, he still has vivid memories about his experiences at middle school with his Peace Corps teacher. He smiled and laughed when he brought up memories from the past.
If your work happens to bring you to the Peace Corps headquarters in DC, I encourage you to visit the photo exhibit. At the very least, you will see a fascinating display of young Koreans and Americans serving in the world. And -- who knows -- it just might make you decide to volunteer!