Monthly Archives: June 2013

VANK Staff

VANK Founder and President – GiTae Park

PGTThere was only one thing that the young man enjoyed more than his work. It was his involvement in a club devoted to sharing Korea with the world. At the time, incorrect facts such as “Pyeongyang is the capital of Korea”, “the official language of Korea is Japanese”, were numerous on international websites. The young man enjoyed finding and correcting these mistakes. This is the story of the cyber diplomacy organization VANK’s founder and leader for twelve years, GiTae Park.

And thus began the start of Korea’s largest public diplomacy organization, VANK. Park, who’s main focus was previously the correction of historical inaccuracies and the promotion of Korea, has recently become a motivational career counseling mentor for young children. As Park shares his stories with students, parents, and educators in all parts of the country, he has never tried to hide the embarrassing or painful parts of his past. Over 70,000 people have heard him speak.

“Active middle-schoolers with dreams of becoming diplomats started to become much less active when they became college juniors and seniors. They were being faced with the pressures of employment. I thought, ‘This is their biggest point of concern’. I suddenly felt so sorry. After contemplating what I could do for these children, I began my lectures.”

Park is skilled at the art of motivating others. For twelve years, he has protected Korea’s history and cultivated 120,000 cyber diplomats, all under the unifying notion that “all citizens are diplomats”. He also applies the same set of skills in his career counseling.

“There are over 20,000 types of jobs in the world. But if you ask children what they want to be, you won’t hear more than 30~40 different answers. That’s because they’re trapped within the frame of lawyers, doctors, businessmen, etc. made by their schools and parents. I wanted to tell them to break free from this frame. Isn’t it amazing to be able to do something truly unique?”

Park also focuses on instilling meaning and sense of pride about one’s career.

“These days, I hand out a picture of flowers at every lecture. At the very bottom is a flowerpot and a space to write your future job. I have students write a ten year plan for their dreams, how their dreams will change the nation, and how their dreams will change the world. The objective is to have children think about not just their profession as one person but how their profession can positively affect the society and larger world. I collect the flower seeds and ask the student to tape the flowers to their desk. I will return the seeds to them after ten years.”

pgt group

Park is currently a respected mentor but he previously struggled with a devastating “failed life”. He attempted to find a job after graduation but found that all he had was four major insecurities. The stigma of a night school diploma, difficult family finances, 600 out of 990 on the TOIEC (English profiency exam), and lack of international experience constantly held Park back.

“I’d never been to the airport before the age of 28. It’s quite ironic how my profession is now sharing Korea with the world. (laugts) My resume was lacking but looking back now, I think I had the drive to overcome my flaws. I applied to travel agencies but they looked down on my lack of international experience. So instead, I met foreigners who came to Korea. After translating the informational guide at Deoksugung palace, I offered free tour guides to tourists in my awful English. I did this for months. Eventually, my passion shined through.”

Park found a job but there was something else that truly wanted to do. VANK, his hobby, eventually became his career.

“I started it for fun but I never worked half-heartedly. I devoted my all, as if I were preparing for the BAR. Honestly, telling children to do what they enjoy is such obvious advice. But I’ve added one more thing. ‘Go crazy for what you enjoy’. Students like hearing this. The word ‘crazy’ tends to light the spark in people.”

Park has recently been selected as a mentor member of the Presidential Youth Council. Since 2002, he has been a member in numerous government councils. Park has contributed to projects such as PR for the World Cup, Response to China’s Northeast Project and Dokdo, and National Branding.

“I’ve been on many boards but it stopped after one year of one or two public meetings. I participated with the belief that the government and their people should on the same wavelength but my personal level of satisfaction was disappointing. But this time, it’s quite different. We meet twice every month in person and once a week online. The number of meetings has changed. It feels like they really want to do it right. I really want to help make something that will truly aid our youth.”

Park has recently launched a “VANK 2.0” project. It’s a plan to create 500 “civilian entrepreneur diplomacy organizations” like VANK in various fields such as national diplomacy, history, Korean food, and tourism. He means to expand beyond cyber diplomats and focus on cultivating “young diplomatic entrepreneurs.”

“The word create has a nice connotation. If you think about it, my job is about creating too. I want to tell children to forget the common, well-known careers and try creating something new. And while you’re at it, create a career that will help people and society rather than making lots of money. Find a career that creates value and dedicate yourself to work that will create careers. Isn’t this a chance for more children to show off their hidden talents?”


VANK Researcher SunHee Lee


When and how did you start working for VANK?

I’ve been with VANK since the very beginning, when I was a senior in college. I was a Japanese major and through VANK, we began a huge pen pal group with Japanese students. VANK members started contacting each other through the internet but eventually began meeting offline as well. In the fall of 2001, we officially started this Cyber Diplomat program.

What is your role in VANK?

During my work at VANK, we continued with the pen pal exchange program and built relationships with close to 100 different classrooms in 56 different countries. A lot of the students kept contact with their pen pals even after the end of the program. Currently I manage the Cyber Dokdo Officer School, Global History Diplomacy Academy, and Global Friends of Korea websites. These sites offer support to students who currently have online pen pals or are looking to make international pen pal friends. We strongly emphasize the facilitation of creating meaningful friendships through our pen pal programs. Through our sites, we want our students to gain a stronger appreciation and interest in their own culture and history as they share this information with international pen pals who ask questions about Korea. We offer lots of educational video clips about Korean history so that the student can be properly equipped to answer many common questions that are asked about Korea. Secondly, we provide souvenirs Korean students who want to send gifts to their international friends. Finally, we encourage Korean students to be conscious of international issues and discuss them with their international friends. We want to develop global leaders who build purposeful relationships with international friends while simultaneously encouraging a global perspective.

Describe your typical day here in the office.
I go through the websites, check my emails, and go through general maintenance. I prepare the monthly newsletters and check up on the different projects on each site that are available for member participation. Most importantly, I check up on the members and try to make sure that they are all doing alright.

What was the most rewarding moment of your time with VANK?

I’m always able to actualize all of my ideas into concrete projects. When I was a Japanese major, I was able to apply my educational background and interests. As I simultaneously began to learn about my own country, I was meeting other people from all over the world who were also interested in the same thing. The best moments now are watching the VANK members talk about their involvement with the pen pal system as they exchange conversation and culture with their international friends. These are children who are forced to study for hours on end without a single interest for learning English but you can really see them come alive and change with passion through these friendships.

There was one middle school student who kept in touch with a US professor for three years. She eventually ended up going to college at the professor’s institution. There was another student who was invited to visit Singapore by her Singaporean pen pal. She had the opportunity to attend school in Singapore for a week and had an amazing eye-opening experience while getting a chance to share the Korean culture with the students there.

Describe some of your short-term and long-term goals.

I just want to continue to support the growth of all the numerous young Korean diplomats. I want to make sure to give my all in helping every single student develop and grow to their full potential.


VANK Researcher JungAe Lee


When and how did you start working for VANK?

I was just a member until the fall of 2001 when VANK became able to financially support full-time staff. I started out by helping Korean students who wanted to have English-speaking pen pals but had difficulties with their English language skills.

 What is your role in VANK?

I handle the education program for VANK members through the ‘World Changers’  program. The process to become an official VANK member involves a small membership fee and one month of mandatory training. Training involves learning how to make friends with international students and go about sharing Korean culture. For example, we examine informational resources or practice writing self introductions in English.

Describe your typical day here in the office.

It usually starts with replying back to emails and answering general questions. I make sure the membership training program for official members and World Changers is going smoothly. I also try to highlight and recognize the exemplary students. Every so often, I coordinate different souvenir ideas that might be interesting for foreigners.

What was the most rewarding moment of your time with VANK?

The most rewarding moments are definitely hearing the stories about the impact VANK has made on the lives of its members. I feel like the average person doesn’t really have a lot of opportunities to think about what they can do to serve their country. Through their experience with VANK, young students are given the chance to start thinking about Korea from an external third-person perspective. Understanding how others may have misconceptions about Korea helps students formulate ideas on how they can increase awareness about their culture or improve their country. This larger perspective really creates a sense of value and empowerment in these student’s lives. You can see them start to grow and develop. In our education program, we have one particiular assignment that asks the students to write about their dreams and goals. The assignment truly helps children take the first step on the path of discovering their dreams. And these dreams all involve giving back to their country.

I also get to meet really great people all the time. I am given the freedom to pursue any new projects as long as they fit within the parameters of Korean culture. It’s a lot of fun and I can focus on all types of ideas because I believe I can help people.

Describe some of your short-term and long-term goals.

‘World Changers’ currently isn’t divided by age groups but I want to create a separate space for younger students, elementary and middle school children. You know it’s funny because I never particularly had a soft spot for children (laughs) but now I truly want to create as many opportunities as possible for them. I want the give them a vision, empower them to dream big, and help them grow. Back when I was a regular VANK member, I wrote on my membership training assignment that my dream was to become a “giant tree” that provides shade and gives back to others. I just want to continue to contribute in any way that I can.


VANK Researcher WonJung Kim


When and how did you start working for VANK?

 I started around October or November of 2007. I was working for the design team that managed projects like VANK’s English site, their Flash PR materials, and CDs. We had been working with VANK since they created their first poster in 2002. However, my background wasn’t really in design, it was in web management. So when I wanted to pursue a career that was more closely tied to my interests, VANK invited me to hop on their team as the official webmaster. I had liked VANK and the work that I was doing with them so I was more than happy to accept the opportunity.

What is your role in VANK?

I manage the 21st Century Gwangaeto the Great’s Dream Wings Project site. I’m the webmaster for all of VANK’s websites so I answer all the questions that are sent to the main email address. I’m also the official photographer and in charge of anything that involves multimedia such as editing parts of any of the websites.

Describe your typical day here in the office.

I check the email and go through general administrative duties. I also assess the applications for our PR kit. Our PR kit first started because Koreans with friends abroad or those who were planning on going abroad wanted to take cultural souvenirs or materials to share Korean culture but they couldn’t find anything or everything they found was too expensive. Applicants have to answer a couple of questions on the reasons behind their request and the applications are reviewed based on their length, effort, and depth of thought. If they are younger students, I give them some leeway and mainly take their effort into consideration.

What was the most rewarding moment of your time with VANK?

When I was searching for jobs, it occurred to me that I wanted to work somewhere where I could have a larger perspective on life. Usually it’s difficult to find a job that you find meaningful, and profit is the main motive. However, that’s never an issue here at VANK. Through my work here, I’ve been able to gain insight on my position within the larger global community. I feel like I’ve been given a responsibility to plant dreams in the VANK members and give them the motivation to pursue those dreams. I meet really great people every day and I’m partly jealous that I didn’t have these opportunities when I was young. I’m excited to know that I can do great things for these amazing people and I’ve definitely become more interested in global issues that failed to interest me in the past.

Describe some of your short-term and long-term goals.

Since 2008 until now, we’ve given away PR package sets to 18,000 people, around 4000 people per year.  All people want are simple ways to share Korean culture without resorting to incredibly expensive, cheap quality, and overly touristy souvenirs. A lot of people make requests for more than one kit but we currently don’t have the funds to fulfill those requests. I hope that we will eventually have the funds to share more of our materials with everyone as desired. Also, I hope we will soon have the means to directly send these packages to people who request them from outside of the country.


VANK Researcher Bokyung Kim

Screenshot_2014-01-16-14-19-38Please give us a brief self-introduction. 

I hope to one day become a professional in enhancing my understanding about Korea and becoming a professional in international cooperation who helps create a world that can be properly shared with friends even in 3rd world countries. Ultimately, I want to be someone who is a positive influence on the world!

When and how did you start working at VANK?

I started interning during the winter break of my sophomore year in college and interned for nearly two years. I began my position as a researcher in September of this year.

There was a VANK club at my high school. It was a club that did VANK activities at a high school level. I had regularly been very interested in issues such as historical distortion and the Dokdo territorial dispute but I felt dispirited about my inability to do anything. However, after seeing the VANK club flyer about introducing Korea to foreign friends and working to correct incorrect historical data, I remember how I had often though, “What can I do about this?” and I signed up right away. Exchanging culture with foreign friends and introducing Korea also seemed exciting. When I was younger, I had wanted to travel abroad and have varied experiences so I thought making international friends was a good opportunity to have those experiences indirectly.

How did you become an intern and what were your duties?

During my junior year of high school, I went to a VANK camp for club leaders. At the event, my club had promised to make an so its incompletion at the end of my club involvement weighed on my conscience. Yet I forgot about that promise until I happened to attend another VANK event in my sophomore year of college. I was asked to give an impromptu presentation about my high school involvement and in that moment, I thought of the unfinished promise. I started interning at VANK that winter in order to keep that initial promise. However, ironically enough, my projects did not have anything to do with my promise. I was the coordinator for an exhibition at the National Museum of Korea and the program co-hosted with the KOICA Global Village.

What is your current role in VANK?

I am currently in charge of the correcting historical errors project, Jikji education project, and SNS management. I also coordinate online and offline training on how to correct known historical inaccuracies.

What are the most rewarding moments with VANK?

I think I’m able to find new meaning each and every day. Of course there have been difficult times starting from my first internship to my position now but there has never been a time that hasn’t been worthwhile. VANK trusted me, a lowly college student, and allowed me to be responsible for many duties. As an intern, my first program was connected with KOICA. I think I was able to become a researcher because those experiences were meaningful to me. VANK is an organization that trusted me as an amateur and a place where I was given a chance to grow.

What have you gained through your experiences with VANK? How have you changed?

First of all, I think I gained the belief that “nothing is impossible.” I especially felt this during my fan dance performances. The other researchers and I decided to perform a fan dance for our cultural exchange programs abroad. Like most people, I’ve never learned fan dance beyond what little I learned during my elementary school arts festival. Although we aren’t professionals, we did best and managers to perform a beautiful fan dance that was easy for audience to understand. Do you know how I felt after the fan dance? I felt that if you throw always all excuses about things like age, money, or time “nothing is impossible”. Additionally, there are many who believe that there are many limits to civilian action and there isn’t much that they can do. But that’s not true. It may not be possible to make a huge change at once but I’ve seen the people around me change one by one. VANK taught me that the moment you realize that nothing is impossible, you can do anything.

The second might be the most important… but through VANK…  I came to the realization that getting first place, receiving awards, and getting your name out there are all definitely valuable things but that might not guarantee that my life would become the best possible life.

I didn’t grow up in a wealthy family while receiving private education so I worked pretty hard. As a young child who hated the prejudices of being raised in a single parent home and burned with the determination to prove that one could succeed from a low income family, I always believed that getting first place and receiving attention was a successful life and the best life possible. However, VANK helped me realized that constantly struggling to get first place according to the standards set by society did not directly correlate with a meaningful and rewarding life.

Of course before I realized this, there was a gap between the activities I did as specs (resume-builders) such as focusing on grades, English, and competition awards, and the activities I enjoyed for fun. Like everyone else, I only had 24 hours in a day and I knew I couldn’t excel in both spectrums. I am a perfectionist so my interest leaned towards one side, I couldn’t stand neglecting the other. Then I began to think about what defined a meaningful life. I began to believe that if I am able to learn and grow, even if it isn’t according to the “specs” of society or didn’t place first place, that had its own value and that life could become the best possible life. Even if my choices do not seem like the most valuable experiences in the future, I don’t think that I will regret it.

I believe that giving my all and trying my best in every moment for something that I believe is right, gives meaning to my life. I wish that other college students would also stop forcing themselves to blindly do things and make up resume builders. Instead, they should make the best of every opportunity that is given to them and persistently devote themselves to it. I didn’t start my involvement with VANK with any expectations but I don’t think it’s a coincidence that after persistent dedication, I had amazing experiences and opportunities such as participating in a Korean culture expedition in Zimbabwe and a historical conflict conference in America.

I think I was able to have these opportunities because I continuously gave my all and grew within those experiences. If I dare say so, I believe it’s true that you have to make your own opportunities. This is the realization I gained through VANK.

-VANK Story 2013-


VANK Members

JuYeon Lee (VANK@ Seoul Global HS Club Leader and 1st President of VANK School Club Leaders Association)


Please give a brief introduction of yourself.

My name is Juyeon Lee and I am a seventeen year-old high school senior. I enjoy listening to music and singing. I do want to perform on stage one day even though I’m not very good at singing. I enjoy watching movies, dramas, and documentaries. I used to make my own videos when I was younger. Lately, I enjoy writing in my free time. Every time I get a new thought in my head, I jot them down as little thought notes. I have been keeping in touch with penpals since I was in seventh grade.

How did you get involved in VANK?

Until I was 14, I had never been abroad, never even been on a plane, due to personal restraints. One day, I randomly search “penpal” on the internet. I thought having a penpal was just for people who had been abroad or had relatives who lived abroad. I found a penpal site for people like me who had never been outside of their country so I went ahead and signed up.

At first, I emailed a bunch of different people but I soon realized that we weren’t true friends. After six years, I have three close penpal friends left: Enni from Finland, Cansu from Turkey, and Bella from Belgium. Because of the time difference, I used to secretly video chat them at 3am and get in so much trouble when I got caught. My mom was worried because wouldn’t go to bed. She would threaten me and try to get me to stop by hiding the letters and presents but I rebelled more and became more passionate thanks to my mom. When Bella and I contact each other we send super long weekly emails that are about five pages long. I realized that kind of communication is charming in its own way as well and we have really gotten to know each other.

For some of my penpals, we first started with email and now we communicate through snail mail. Email has a lot of advantages because it is faster than snail mail but I think snail mail is much more valuable because we can send physical gifts and snacks that share our different cultures. One time, Cansu sent Turkish Delight to my school and I got to share it with my friends. I don’t know why but I’m unable to throw away any of the wrapping paper or snack packaging from my penpals so I’ve been collecting it all. It’s also really fun to be able to see my penpals’ different handwriting.

When I initially started exchanging emails with my penpals in sixth grade, I wanted to share information about Korea just as my penpals shared information about their own countries but I didn’t know how. I discovered VANK’s Gwanggaeto Dream Wings Project and wanted to receive the souvenir kit. The souvenir kit was free but I thought I had to become an official VANK member so I secretly sent 20 dollars to VANk to pay for the membership fee without telling my mom (haha).

My first real VANK experience was participating in the 2009 Dokdo Camp. I had been attending an academy and was given an assignment to write a paper about Dokdo. I attached the paper to my application for Dokdo Camp and was selected. The overall experience was very meaningful. I even met a girl there who went to Seoul Global High School and thanks to her, I am currently a student there as well.

What have you gained from your VANK experiences?

As I contacted my penpals, I realized that although I was Korean, I didn’t know much about my own country. Though I was patriotic, I did not know about the existence of numerous historical errors published about Korea in textbooks and academic resources. I learned about international perceptions of Korea and also felt that it was unfortunate that such a large portion of them had to do with North Korea. Even now, I don’t consider myself an expert but I have gained an overall confidence. When I began a VANK club at my school but I was very shy but I was pushed into situations that didn’t allow for me to be shy. I had to act as a representative and be brave so I slowly became more outgoing and active. Additionally, I began studying English because English is necessary for a lot of VANK activities. My English is still not great but it definitely has improved.

284527_101173170039697_869376787_nDescribe your past activities as a VANK member.

In 9th grade, I suddenly had the thought that I would like to start a VANK school club but I didn’t know where to even begin. One day, I heard that a friend of a friend was in the process of starting a cartoon club at school and I was shocked. So I thought, “why can’t I do the same?” I wanted to start a VANK school club because I wanted to share the great emotions and experiences that I felt through VANK activities with the other students at my school. I ran around my school and darted into every single teacher’s room in order to find a club advisor. When I got home, I created handmade recruitment posters. I interviewed all students who signed up to be members. Our club advisor had only heard of VANK, she didn’t actually know anything about the organization. The whole club depended on me and I had to the lead all weekly events. Every Friday night, I thought about what to do the next day. I made tons of powerpoints and prepared programs such as classroom exchange penpalling with classrooms in other countries. The results were great. We penpalled with schools in the U.S. and in Turkey. The 20-30 club members enjoyed that event the most. We also went on field trips to places like Changdeokgung palace and Kyungbok palace.  I worked really hard and I will never forget the moment when I saw the name of our VANK club in our middle school newsletter.

Why are VANK school clubs important?

Most Korean teenagers don’t know much about Korea and they don’t know how important it is to be informed. VANK school clubs help students understand the value of Korea. Joining VANK on an individual level requires paying the membership fee and personal active effort. It can seem like a very scary large organization that is difficult to approach. School clubs allow for students to experience VANK on a close level, especially to those who didn’t previously know about VANK. VANK school clubs show that VANK is actually very approaching and welcoming.

Also, there are many campaigns or activities that can only be accomplished by VANK school clubs. For example, we collaborated with other schools and held Korean culture awareness events in Insadong. These are small-level campaigns that only school clubs can do carry out, before student enter college or the work force.

Why did you decide to establish VANK School Club Leaders Association?

When I started my VANK school club, I checked the main VANK website and counted over 100 school clubs. However, the website seemed very outdated and I wasn’t sure about the accuracy of the statistics. I thought it would be a good idea to gather all the clubs scattered around Korea and collaborate on ideas and projects. Newer clubs could get advice and support from the veteran clubs. I put my thoughts into action by starting an internet café and contacting all the club leaders I knew. When we held the event, I was so proud to see something that had started from nothing. It was great to see so many scattered clubs become united as one and discover opportunities to improve and advance all together.  A lot of school clubs disappear after one year but hopefully through the VANK school club leaders association, we can strengthen the network connection and provide each other with the necessary support.  I hope to eventually create newletters for newbie leaders written by veteran leaders documenting their past struggles and successes.

Describe some of your short-term and long-term goals.

In regards to VANK, I want to continue to stay involved in college. In terms of my personal life, I don’t really know because I’m interested in everything. I think it’s both good and bad but I’m unable to really focus on one thing. My dreams and goals have changed many times. When I was in elementary school, I wanted to be a teacher, a scientist, a chef, and a writer. Even now, I have so many dreams that I can’t decide right now. I feel like there’s so much I still haven’t experienced in life. I don’t ever want to be so rash as to say I don’t want to do something without having tried it. Some things I’ve thought of are becoming a documentary producer or musical actress, working for Google, and starting an NGO for the underprivileged. I don’t have a set dream but who says I have to decide now? If I live to about eighty, I still have sixty years to go. I want to try everything. Hopefully I’ll study arts and technology, maybe media or political diplomacy. Most importantly, I really want to be able to travel and personally meet the penpal friends that I’ve been contacting for so long. I want to continue to meet people from all different backgrounds.

Sometimes I wonder, why should we think it’s important to share Korean culture? There are a lot of different cultures in the world. I can’t express the right answer and I still think about it often but I think it’s more than just understanding who we are and where we’re from.  I believe there are positive effects from cultural awareness and exchange.

-VANK Story 2013-

VANK: About Us

VANK (Voluntary Agency Network of Korea) is a cyber diplomacy organization of 120,000 Korean and international members united under the purpose of properly introducing Korea to the world and promoting cultural exchange through international friendships.

VANK was founded in 1999 when one young man began exchanging emails with a pen pal and became shocked to find that his international friends either knew very little about Korea or possessed incorrect information about Korea. Founder Park Gi Tae began to imagine a future where Koreans could establish sincere relationships with international friends from all over the world. Through these relationships, the global community could gain a holistic and accurate  understanding of Korea.

The numerous members of VANK have taken upon roles as cyber diplomats in order to share Korea with the world and rectify international misrepresentations of Korea. VANK cyber diplomats hope to improve the image of Korea in the global society while simultaneously gaining a better understanding of their country and the countries of their international friends. When provided with the right opportunities through VANK, people of all ages and backgrounds are able to act as diplomats of Korea. VANK members are encouraged to realize their personal dreams in the context of their identities as Korean citizens and members of the global community.

Young Koreans become cyber diplomats: VANK has developed and implemented an education program for cyber diplomats. Many young Koreans dream of becoming diplomats. THis program teaches them how to interact with foreigners and act as citizen diplomats.

Young Koreans become global PR ambassadors: VANK has developed and implemented an education program for global PR ambassadors. An increasing number of Koreans go abroad for study, travel, or volunteer activities. This program fosters their ability to properly represent and promote Korea to foreigners.

Young Koreans become world changers: VANK has developed and implemented an educational program for future world changers. We hope that young Koreans can contribute to solving global issues, such as poverty and environmental issues. This program develops their ability to make a difference in the world.

These program have been adopted by over 500 student clubs in elementary, middle and high schools nationwide. Some universities grant academic credit for VANK activities. To support their activities, VANK has produced over 70 kinds of promotional materials ab out Korean history, culture, and tourism. Over a million copies have been sent to more than 150 country.

Our vision is for Korea to develop into the hub of Asia, the gateway to Northeast Asia, and a loved country that shares friendships and dreams with people for all over the world. Our mission is to help youth improve Korea’s national prestige, play a role in making the world a better place, and realize their own dreams through these efforts.

-VANK Story 2014-

Misc. VANK Materials


May We Speak (Eng&Kor)

This CD contains nearly seventy different video files that cover VANK’s primary objectives and previous accomplishments as a cyber public diplomacy organization that works to promote a positive image of Korea. Topics include correction of historical inaccuracies that have been published about Korea, highlights about historical figures and events, and the current Dokdo controversy.

We Make South Korea 우리가 바로 대한민국 (Eng&Kor)

This CD is a compilation of the English and Korean video clips of the “We Are South Korea” online film festival. Nearly seventy different video files cover VANK’s mission and goals in correlation to South Korea’s past, present, and promising future. The clips also discuss topics such as how to get involved, the influence of soft power international exchange, and building public diplomacy from the bottom up.

QR Code Book Korea (Eng&Kor)

QR code

Book 1
A book of perforated informational postcards that can be torn out and shared with family members and friends.  The postcards depict cultural and historical figures, historical facts, and the hopeful future of Korea. Additionally, every postcard has its very own QR code for YouTube videos that can provide further information about each subject.

Book 2
A book of perforated informational postcards that can be torn out and shared with family members and friends. The postcards depict information about peace issues, global issues, traveling in Korea, and VANK. Additionally, every postcard has its very own QR code for YouTube videos that can provide further information about each subject.


Goguryeo stickersGoguryeo, The Pride of Korea (Eng)
A sticker sheet featuring images from the Goguryeo dynasty, an essential period in Korea’s history, and the Gojoseon dynasty, the intellectual predecessor of the Goguryeo dynasty.

Korean Flags  우리가 바로 대한미국입니다 (Eng&Kor)
A sticker sheet of the national South Korean flag in an assortment of varied sizes.

stickerEast Sea & Dokdo (Eng)
A sticker sheet of East Sea and Dokdo label stickers in various sizes for easy correction of mislabeled maps and other resources. The back provides extensive information regarding the nomenclature controversy of both the East Sea and Dokdo.

Korean Alphabet (Eng&Kor)
Combine these stickers of Korean characters to create your Korean name or short Korean phrases. Also comes with stickers for your laptop or keyboard.

Coasters (Eng)                                                                                                                                                             Two coasters portraying various beautiful aspects of Dokdo. The two sides of the first coaster show a landscape of Dokdo: one during the day, and one at night. The second coaster displays images of the Siberian Chrysanthemum and the Madi Flower, two native forms of flora in Dokdo.

DSC_8277Stamp Sheet (Eng)                                                                                                                                            A stamp sheet featuring 14 colorful stamps with various images that symbolize all that is Dokdo. In addition to four scenes of Dokdo during various stages of sunrise and sunset, other stamps include the Dokdo Lighthouse, the indigenous Black Tialed Gull, and Sapsal Dog.

light fan

dark fanFans (Eng)                                                                                                                                                              Two decorative fans displaying landscapes of Dokdo during the day and night. The back of the blue day fan has images of the multiple locations and wildlife that are special to Dokdo. The back of the darker night fan has images and descriptions the numerous events and injustices that Dokdo has come to symbolize for the Korean people.

Notebook (Eng&Kor)                                                                                                                                               Jikji is the oldest metal printed book in the world and the first step in Korea’s long history of documentation and printing technology. This notebook is a tribute to Korea’s documentary heritage of record keeping and was created to inspire the hope that the words written on its empty pages will also leave their own mark on history. The centerfold pages of the notebooks highlight and track significant moments in Korea’s documentation history with bright pictures and detailed descriptions in both English and Korean.

Hang-up magazine 

DSC_7646We Make South Korea 우리가 바로 대한민국 (Kor)
This easy-to-hang magazine is a collection of shareable QR codes that will lead you to VANK’s online “We Are South Korea” film festival. The “We are South Korea” film festival is a compilation of various video clips about Korea’s history, culture, and historical figures. Other topics include global issues and how to further get involved in VANK. Through these educational clips, VANK hopes to inspire the youth of South Korea to educate themselves and use that education to make positive contributions to the global community.

Dream Seed

flower potEven the smallest of seeds, when sown in the earth,  will grow to become a large tree and the birds of the sky will lodge in its branches. Write your name and dreams on the seed and it is destined to come true. Collect words of support from friends, family, and even those who initially doubted you.  This small flower pot of motivation will encourage will encourage your dreams to grow to their full potential. How will your dreams change your country? How will your dreams change the world?

Paper Airplane

airplaneWrite your dreams on the back of this paper airplane and let it fly! This is also a great way to exchange information about each others dreams with your peers.

-VANK Story 2013-

VANK Publications

May We Speak? (Eng)
The “May We Speak QR Code International Film Festival” is comprised of a series of video clips that describe the injustices experienced by Koreans during the historical period of Japanese imperialism. This publication is a compilation of each of those stories accompanied by a QR codes linked to their respective YouTube clips. Topics include comfort women, the extermination of the Dokdo sea lion, the assassination of Empress Myeongseong, and Japan’s current territorial claim on the island of Dokdo.

Discover Korea in the World’s Textbook (Eng)
This book describes the Voluntary Agency Network of Korea and their primary goals and objectives. Some of their activities include an international pen pal classroom exchange, distribution of helpful printed materials, and projects to correct published historical inaccuracies. Follow VANK’s past, present, and future efforts to correct distorted information in international publications about Korea’s history, cultural relics, and notable figures.

DSC_7592The Greatest Invention, Movable Metal Type Printing and Jikji (Eng)
The movable metal type printing press was first invented in Korea and Jikji was the first book to be produced with movable metal type. This magazine examines their significance as documentary heritages and recognization through UNESCO’s Memory of the World Program and Jikji Memory of the World Prize. Follow VANK’s continuous efforts to correct false data that has been published about Korean printing history.

DSC_8291The Man Who Transforms Korea, Yi Sun-Sin (Eng)
General Yi Sun-Sin was one of the greatest men to have ever lived in Korea’s history. Follow his life, naval battles, and his legendary victory of the Imjin War. The book touches on the lasting effects of General Yi Sun-Sin’s accomplishments, revolutionary naval tactics, and international reputation. VANK continuously strives to share the story of Yi Sun-Sin and correct historical errors that may have been published about him.

Heart beating Korea 두근두근 코리아 (Eng&Kor)
This miniature book is an adorable guidebook for anyone who is interested in visiting or learning about Korea. It is jam-packed with essential information about historical sites and figures, food, and must-see hot spots.  Definitely one of the most charming guidebooks you will find about Korea.

Textbook for Cyber Diplomat – CYBER 독도사관학교 (Eng&Kor)
VANK’s members are cyber diplomats who share information about Korea through online networks. This guidebook will help you make the best use of VANK’s resources in order to become positive representative of South Korea and change the world for the better.  Become a Cyber Diplomat through education about Korea’s history, culture, and historical figures. Learn about Dokdo, peace maker issues, and how to be a world changer.

Dreaming Dreams That Shape the Future of Korea 대한미국의 미래를 만드는 우리들의 꿈 키우기 (Kor)  
This guidebook will take you through the step-by-step process of starting and developing a VANK charter club at your school or local community. After guiding you through the required steps to become a cyber diplomat and world changer, the book suggests various activities for you and your new organization. Take a look at some of the most outstanding VANK members and groups, how they’ve grown, and what they are doing to change the world as South Korean diplomats.

 Global History Diplomacy Academy: A Workbook to Change the World and Me 글로벌역사외교아카데미: 나와 세계를 변화시키는(Kor)
The mission of VANK’s Global History Diplomacy Academy to help the youth of Korea develop a more accurate understanding of history and to cultivate future peacemakers who will address conflicts in Asia and all over the world. Learn about the historical conflicts of Northeast Asian and critical issues in the global community. Participate in a variety of activities and take steps towards being a positive change in the world.

Cyber Diplomat VANK 사이버외교관 반크 (Kor)
VANK (Voluntary Agency Network of Korea) is a cyber diplomacy organization that strives to share information about South Korea with the rest of the world. VANK also encourages the youth of Korea to become global leaders who make positive contributions to the global community. This book describes VANK and their numerous accomplishments. It also provides readers with tips on how to share information about South Korea or effectively correct historical inaccuracies that may have been published about Korea. Become a VANK cyber diplomat, promote a positive image of South Korea, and give back to the global community.

-VANK Story 2013-

VANK Websites

cyber diplomacy VANK Cyber Diplomacy Program (
VANK is the acronym for the Voluntary Agency Network of Korea and primarily uses email to serve as a cyber tour guide for foreigners, overseas Koreans, and adoptees who wish to learn more about Korea. It is a cyber diplomacy organization that works to promote an accurate representation of South Korea to the world while simultaneously facilitating relationships between Korean and foreigners. VANK runs a Cyber Diplomacy Program and one can receive certification as a cyber diplomat after taking 12 internet courses over a period of one month. Training is comprised of a variety of content such as how to make self-introductions in English, how to introduce of Korea, building relationships with international pen pals, promoting Korea through online chatting, discovering published historical inaccuracies, and international correspondence. Anyone who wishes to share Korea with the world can register.

dokdoVANK World Changer Program (
The mission of VANK’s World Changer Program is to educate and cultivate the young Koreans of the 21st century to recognize themselves as global citizens beyond the borders of Korea and become world leaders who actively participate in and resolve global issues such as climate change, poverty, and disease. In order to receive certification as World Changer, one must take 14 different online courses over a period of one month. VANK encourages international exchange between Koreans and foreigners through the World Changer Program website, and educates Korean youth so that they may actively participate in meetings with other world changers from around the world.

dokdoCyber Dokdo Officer School (
The Cyber Dokdo Officer School was founded with the catch phrase, “Lead South Korea into the world with Dokdo in our hearts!”, in order to convey the year-round love of South Korea and the passion to share the national brand with the entire world. Our primary goal is to gather students of all ages and educate them through online video clips about South Korea’s history and culture. We hope to cultivate individuals with the potential to insightfully resolve historical issues with Japan and properly promote their country as “Ambassadors of South Korea.”

peaceGlobal History Diplomacy Academy (
The Global History Diplomacy Academy provides free internet lectures for accessible and easy-to-understand information about pending issues in Northeast Asian history and topics of global concern. The website offers video lectures from specialists about current issues of Northeast Asian history such as the conflict of the East Sea, Dokdo, and the Northeast Project. You can also access educational videos about global issues such as climate change, poverty, and disease. Manage a Peace Classroom for your school, club, or organization, and participate in a variety of other programs. VANK supports the education of Korea youth to develop a more accurate understanding of history and to cultivate future peacemakers who will address conflicts in Asia and around the world.

gwanggaeto21st Century Gwanggaeto the Great’s Dream Wings Project (
Just as the Goguryeo Dynasty’s Gwangaeto the Great expanded Korea’s territory, 21st century Koreans are expanding Korea’s boundaries by sharing Korea’s history, land, and culture with foreigners from all over the world. Additionally, VANK provides promotional materials to Koreans who can promote Korea to international friends through opportunities such as travel abroad, study abroad, language programs, international camps, and international volunteer work. As you leave the country, take the Korea PR materials you received and tell everyone about the friendliness of South Korea. Afterwards, post your Korea PR activities on “Post-Experience” and share your insider tips with others!

leesunsin21st Century Yi Sun-sin Historical Inaccuracy Correction Project (
Just as General Yi Sun-sin’s leadership saved the Joseon Dynasty during the Imjin War, any 21st century Korean can fight for an accurate representation of Korea throughout the world by working to  correct factual errors about Korea that are published in textbooks and websites around the world. VANK develops Korean netizens into 21st century models of General Yi Sun-sin by encouraging members to emulate General Yi Sun-sin’s writing spirit by recording inaccuracies in mass media and to emulate his innovation by discovering and rectifying such errors. Additionally, VANK encourages netizens to exemplify General Yi Sun-sin’s patriotism by correctly amending historical inaccuracies and straightening out South Korea’s image. These members have the potential to play a role in relieving the tensions of strained ROK-Japan and ROK-China conflicts such as issues with the East Sea, Dokdo, and historical distortions.

chinguGlobal Friends of Korea (
A Hallyu community of people from all over the world who wish to make Korean friends. VANK created “Global Friends of Korea” in order to increase the number of people who love South Korea by gathering those who are interested in Korean dramas, music, and movies, etc. of Hallyu, exchanging the personal experiences of what makes “South Korea,” and facilitating communication with Korean friends. Make meaningful friendships with international friends who love Hallyu and use this social networking site for a variety of activities such as making friend requests, participating in language exchange, creating sub-groups based on interests, and taking video courses about Korea’s territories, histories, and culture. Provide a heart-warming impression of Koreans while sharing your dreams and building friendships!

theworldchangerThe World Changer Social Network  (

The World Changer is a social network site for global leaders who wish to take on the responsibility of finding a solution for imperative global issues such as climate change, poverty, disease and contamination, conditions for women and children, international war, water shortage, and human rights. We welcome the youth of the world who wish to communicate with the others through activities such as friend requests based on “global issues” or “cultural issues”, community exchange programs (international class exchange, club exchange, family exchange, group exchange, and city exchange), online mock UN, and construction of a national information network. These children are the future global leaders of the world.

movieWe Make South Korea! Film Festival (
The youth of Korea can move the hearts of people all over the world with their skills and talents if they just believe that “We are South Korea”. VANK would like to introduce a series of video clips that represent ‘South Korea’s Dreams.’ These clips contain the great dreams and passions of Korean leaders who continuously strove to improve their nation throughout 5000 years of history. The clips also hold the dreams of Korean youth who wish to step out into the world and provide hope for those struggling with the global issues of the 21st century. Please support the dreams of the youth of South Korea to discover their own value, share South Korea with the world, and leave their own positive mark on the global community. We are South Korea!

sejongGlobalization of the Korean Language (
Hangul (the Korean alphabet) is an innovative letter system that is distinctly different from the Hanja of China, Kana of Japan, and Roman letters of the West. Hangul’s vowels and consonants can be differentiated at first glance. Each letter was created based on the shape of vocal organs and has earned endless praise from scholars all over the world for its innovation. Hangul has been regarded as one of the easiest letter systems in the world to learn. As VANK began actively sharing Hangul with people from all over the world, they created the ‘21st Century SeJong Project” information site in order to help correct false printed data about Hangul in international textbooks and online encyclopedias.  Any netizen with an accurate understanding of Hangul and open mind can become the 21st century King Sejong and help share the Korean language, Hangul.

jikjiGlobalization of Jikji, the First Metal Printing Press Book (
Specialists have declared the ‘Metal Type Printing’ as the greatest invention in history of mankind. “Jikji”, one of UNESCO’s World Heritages, was the world’s first metal printing press book (1377) and created 78 years before Gutenberg’s printing press (1455). Jikji’s existence shows that Koreans were the first people to develop the metal printing press yet many are still unfamiliar with this information. In response, VANK created an informational website to provide accurate information about Jikji. Spread information about Jikji, one of Korea’s greatest cultural assets. Various samples of informational English email templates can be accessed on the site.

yisunsinstoryGlobalization of Yi Sun-sin (
Foreign heroes are well introduced in international textbooks, dictionaries, and websites but Korea’s greatest hero has yet to be mentioned. VANK created the “Globalization of Yi Sun-sin” informational website in order to globally provide accurate facts about the accomplishments and leadership of General Yi Sun-sin, Korea’s most notable figure. Share the stories behind the Battle of Hansan Island, one of the four greatest naval battles in history. Tell others about Yi Sun-sin’s life and his legendary turtle ships. Various samples of informational English email templates can be accessed on the site.

May we speak?  (

VANK established the English website ‘May we speak’ to accurately inform foreigners
of Japan’s past affairs and conflicts. This website was created to effectively
promote the military sexual slavery by Japan and Japan’s past imperialism.
Furthermore, it was not a minor area conflict but, an issue that
must be understood and resolved globally. The whole world remembers the
Holocaust and Germany’s Nazis and knows the seriousness of the committed
war crime. Also, people sympathize and promise to never let this sort of issue
arise again, but people do not know that around the same time Japan’s imperialistic
ideas were occurring and Japan’s historic war crimes were not relatively
known internationally. In the wide context of imperialism, the Holocaust, Germany’s
Nazis and Japan’s war crimes are tied together in one website to be familiar
and to directly introduce the Dokdo issue and the military sexual slavery by Japan.

-VANK Story 2013-


·¹À̾ƿô 1Great Ideas That Changed the World (Eng)                                                                                              Take a look at the numerous great ideas, inventions, explorations, events, and paths from all over the world. Each moment pinpoints an revolutionary change in history and a global impact on the international community. This map portrays the results of great dreamers and achievers.

whmapWorld Heritage Map (Eng)
This map visually displays various World Heritage Sites in Korea and countries all around the world. Additionally, it highlights global contributions in the documentary heritage as recognized by UNESCO’s Memory of the World Program. At the bottom of the map is a brief introduction to Korea’s documentary heritage.

WorldChanging Map (Eng)
VANK began its World Changer Project in order to provide opportunities for people to contribute their talents and abilities in ways that lead to positive global change and meaningful relationships with people from all over the world. This world map encourages awareness and activism that addresses some of the world’s current global issues.

World and Korean Map “Friendly Korea, My Friend’s Country” (Eng)
This world map visually displays the location of numerous UNESCO’s Memory of the World archives and World Heritage Sites from all over the world. The right panel of the map is an enlarged map of Korea with visual highlights of the country’s greatest landmarks.  At the bottom of the side panel is a brief overview of the different time periods in Korea’s history.

·¹À̾ƿô 1




Korean Map “The Vision of Korea” (Eng)
This beautifully decorative map provides a close-up view of the numerous regions in Korea. Additionally, the informational side bar provides a basic outline of the different dynasties in Korea’s history.


·¹À̾ƿô 1

Vision of Korea – Upside Down Paradigm Shift Map (Eng)

This unique map offers a paradigm shift, a new way of seeing the world. This upside-down map breaks free from the traditional global map in an attempt to provide inspiration to those who desire a fresh perspective of the world. On the bottom is a small tribute to King SeJong, a Korean king who deviated from the norm to provide life-changing innovations for his people.·¹À̾ƿô 1


Korean Heritage Map (Eng)

This map visually represents the locations of the numerous UNESCO World Heritage Sites and Memory of the World Program documentary heritage in Korea. Each site and heritage comes with a brief description explaining its historical background and cultural significance.



Be a Friend of Asia (Eng)

This map of Asia doubles as a fun board game for people of all ages. Travel through Asia and learn basic facts and the geographical location of each country. Players must learn the greeting of each country in order to rack up points. This game encourages increased awareness about all the countries in Asia. On the bottom is a brief timeline of both Asian and Korean history.

DSC_8260World Documentary Heritage Map (Kor)
This map visually displays the documentary heritages located all over the world. The side panel features a highlight on Jikji, the first book to ever be printed through a metal printing press system. On a the back is an extensive description of the Jikji Memory of the World Prize and its fourth winner, the National Archive of Australia.

arirangmap세계속의 한국인 Koreans in the World (K)
This map of the world provides statistics and background information on Korean immigrants around the world. The right panel of the map is an enlarged map of Korea with the locations of the varying regional versions of Arirang, Korea’s most famous folk song. The map also provides a brief overview of Korea’s historical dynasties.

¿¡Æ¼ÄÏ ÁöµµTravel Around the World with Korean in Your Heart 대한민국을 가슴에 품고 두근두근 세계 여행!  (Kor)
Are you ready to be a Global Ambassador of Korea? This map of the world also doubles as a fun board game that also tests your global knowledge. Travel around the world and learn interesting facts and the geographical location of various countries.

-VANK Story 2013-