|Naju Mayor Yoon Byung-tae, leftmost, confers honorary citizenship of Naju City, South Jeolla Province, to Maryland Governor Larry Hogan and his wife Yumi Hogan during a banquet held at the U.S. Embassy in Seoul, Thursday. Courtesy of Naju City|
By Lee Yeon-woo
Maryland Governor Larry Hogan and his wife Yumi Hogan have become honorary citizens of Naju City, South Jeolla Province, according to the city.
Naju Mayor Yoon Byung-tae presented plaques to the couple during a banquet held at the U.S. Embassy in Seoul, Thursday.
Yumi Hogan, a Korean American, was born in Naju. As the first lady of Maryland, it is known that she has played an active role in promoting regional exchanges between Naju and the U.S. state of Maryland.
In 2016, the two sides signed a memorandum of understanding to cooperate in various sectors such as education, farming, culture and tourism. They agreed to support students from Naju to study English in Maryland colleges, expand the export outlets of Naju pears, its local specialty, and promote "jjok," a Korean natural dyeing method.
She also made efforts to create an exchange program between the Nature Dyeing Culture Center of Naju and Maryland Institute College of Art in 2016. Her affection for her hometown is so deep that she personally prepares various lectures and field trips to broaden the experience of the visiting students from Naju.
"We are sincerely thankful to the governor and the first lady for not forgetting our city and putting efforts to communicate and cooperate with Naju. Please feel free to visit your hometown anytime," Yoon said.
Honorary citizenship in Naju is given to foreign nationals, Korean residents abroad and people who live in other regions but have contributed to developing the city and advancing the local government. Larry and Yumi Hogan are the 10th and 11th honorary citizens of Naju.