Design Saengki is a creative graphic design studio which works with various kinds of print design. Saengki has worked with VANK throughout the years in order to produce unique, beautiful, and informative materials as supplements for increasing understanding and educating others about Korean history and culture.
So Ri Lee (Head of Dokdo Policy Division of Gyeongsangbuk-do Provincial Office)
Gyeongsangbuk-do (North Gyeongsang Province) is located on the southeastern coast of South Korea. Historically, it was the center of Gaya culture, the Buddhist culture of the Silla Kingdom, and the Confucian culture of the Joseon dynasty. 20% of Korea’s cultural assets are therefore located in Gyeongsangbuk-do, and we pride ourselves on our cultural richness. Most importantly, Gyeongsangbuk-do is the provincial government that manages the territory of Ulleungdo and Dokdo.
In 2011, we launched Cyber Dokdo, an online that provides information about Dokdo, its history, and how to visit the island. The site is available in four languages; Korean, English, Chinese, and Japanese. We also offer a variety of resources and education material.
Who are you and what is your role within in the organization?
My name is So Ri Lee and I am part of the East Coast Development Bureau. I lead the Dokdo Policy Division, and my work focuses strongly on research and education.
How did you come to work at Gyeongsangbuk-do Provincial office? When did you first gain interest in your field?
I majored in Japanese but I didn’t have any particular interest in Dokdo. I was a language researcher and through my research, I discovered more and more information about colonial history and the distortion of the history that was being taught in Japan. In 2005, I began working in the Gyeongsangbuk-do Provincial office as a Dokdo Resource Researcher. Now, I feel as though it’s my duty to share my research and knowledge with others.
When did the Gyeongsangbuk-do Provincial office first begin collaborating with VANK?
In July of 2008, the Japanese government made an official announcement that they would begin incorporating education about their claim on Takeshima (the Japanese nomenclature of Dokdo) in their education curriculum. In response, we thought it was necessary for children to be educated about the Korean perspective. We saw that VANK had already been very involved in this field and had started a Global Dokdo Ambassador site. In early February of 2009, we launched the Cyber Dokdo Academy MOU and we have been working together ever since.
Describe some of the past-present-future programs hosted by VANK and the Gyeongsangbuk-do Provincial office.
In total, the Cyber Dokdo Academy has had over 70,000 members. VANK takes charge of the all online education, site management, and content creation. Our office merely offers support, resources, and research materials. We also play a role in the Dokdo Camp, when selected VANK students get the opportunity to personally visit Dokdo. Up until 2011, the only offline events we hosted were the Dokdo camps. However, for the past two years, we have been working together in hosting Global Ambassador offline education and the Global History Diplomacy Strategist program. The quality of the content and the available resources has improved significantly. We plan to continue our outreach to other countries and we’ll looking forward to coming up with a variety of new programs in diverse options.
What are some of the impressions you gained while working with VANK? What is your opinion about the staff and students?
Honestly, it’s not easy to collaborate effectively for a long time with anyone. However, the passion and sincere attitude that lays as a foundation behind all of VANK’s work makes it easy for me to trust them. It’s great to see an organization that works to promote Korea with genuineness. I can see how the president inspires and encourage students through his speech and education programs. The staff approaches the concept of Dokdo and sharing Korean culture in a very realistic manner. They also give their all to provide for their members in a warm and comforting way. VANK always does a great job and I am so grateful for them. I truly hope that their sincerity can reach out to numerous areas in the global community.
-VANK Story 2013-