• 폰트크기작게
  • 폰트크기크게
  • TTS
  • 단어장
  • 기사스크립
  • SNS
2017-11-05 19:04
Dear Mr. President,

You will have no doubt been briefed in great detail regarding the strong historical, cultural, and military ties that exist between the United States and South Korea. Many of these are well-documented and the foreign communities in each of the countries are testament to how successfully this has been carried out over the many years. Your imminent arrival here in Seoul is preceded by a long list of others – and it is hoped that the work done now will be remembered as fondly in the future as those that have gone before.

The benefits of some of the very first Americans to visit these shores are still with us today. Moreover, they play an essential and yet often intangible role in the very fabric of Korean society. A society that has continually demonstrated a remarkable ability to overcome adversity and thrive in a competitive global environment.

It can be said that a prosperous and thriving society is one that values the hearts, brains, and minds of its citizens – one that embraces and nourishes all without discrimination according to lineage, gender, or other such factors. It was those very hearts, brains, and minds that the first callers to these shores deeply affected. And thus, more than 130 years since his arrival in 1884, the splendid Yonsei Severance Hospital serves as testament to the legacy of Horace Newton Allen. A statute of Horace Grant Underwood stands in Yonsei University as a tribute to the work he and his family have done in strengthening the bonds between the two nations.  Meanwhile another of South Korea’s most prestigious and respected universities, Ewha Women’s University, is a continuation of the dedicated and all-embracing efforts of Mary F. Scranton that began in 1886.

Such profound and long-lasting changes imparted by these early American visitors are hard to quantify in monetary or material terms. They are more akin to seeds which, since being planted, have grown and flourished into mature and thriving hardwood: A hardwood that supports and nourishes much of what still happens in this remarkable land. They are part of the very foundations upon which democracy and, in turn, economic prosperity have sprouted. The warp and woof that have allowed Korean students of all genders, ages, and social classes to attend universities, to study and exercise free speech, and have access to health care that is affordable and accessible to all.

It is wise to retain such legacies and permanence in one’s mind when confronted with the nature of international relations. Domestic politics in many countries around the world has become a seemingly ever faster swinging pendulum, veering from one side to the other at greater speeds with consequently greater arcs and distances each time.  Here, there are displayed a widening disparity in view points and opinions thrown together on modern platforms such as social media. The movement of international relations is not one which should be tested so readily, however. Even the slightest nudge in one direction can have tectonic results on the wider balance of power in certain regions.

It is international relations between countries such as Korea and the United States on the world’s stage that are the chief constituent of what comprises global security. The lives of billions of individuals rest upon the alliances, associations, and fraternities created at the national level so as to achieve a systemic peace that reverberates around the world and solidifies the various actors in their place in order to prevent bloodshed, conflict, and hostility.

As humans we may never truly rid ourselves of the specter of war, for there is always a casus bali waiting to make its seductive voice heard. Yet, the second half of the twentieth century and the start of this century have seen much of the world gifted with a form of stability and sturdiness that arose from the various treaties, alliances, and multilateral agreements that were born out of the chaos of the Second World War, the Korean War, and other harrowing conflicts.

Thus, a hardwood exists beneath the international stage and provides a veritable rock upon which countless individuals and their families play out their existence. This foundation is comprised of various alliances and deeply-intertwined partnerships and affinities. As those Americans that arrived here in Korea did things that implanted themselves in the soil of this land so that it may later flourish and grow into prosperity, may you gaze beyond the volatile swinging pendulum of the present and instead have the prudence and foresight to see deep into the constancy and endurance of alliances. 


David Tizzard is an assistant professor at Seoul Women's University and host of TBS eFM's cultural talk show” A Little of a Lot.”


  • 폰트크기작게
  • 폰트크기크게
  • TTS
  • 단어장
  • 기사스크립
  • SNS