Visit to Service for Peace Korea, Seoul, 6/24/19

Meeting Kang Youngmee and Kim Soo Yoen at Service for Peace Korea

When I travel, I often bring a copy of my book to gift to a local peacebuilding organization. I’m not sure the book always offers insight to groups overseas, but even if one person takes away one idea from the book, then I’ve accomplished my goal.

This week my wife and I have been in Seoul, Korea with our daughter who spent the semester at Yonsei University. She is a sophomore at Towson University near Baltimore studying early childhood education. We are proud that she decided to take a semester abroad. Her brother did the same while at the University of Maryland and studied in Turkey.

For her though, the experience was meaningful in a way most do not experience. She is native Korean and joined our family when she was five months old.

Looking for a local peace organization, I found Service of Peace Korea, which is located next to the Yonsei University campus. Service for Peace Korea (SFP) is the representative organization for Volunteering Korea and was assigned special consultative status from UN ECOSOC – United Nations Economic and Social Council. Since 2001, SFP has been offering domestic and overseas volunteer programs for youth in Nepal, Cambodia, and North Korea. SFP supports the Nepal Sarlahi DreamCatcher Children Center. SFP’s vision is to support communities around the world to become models of community-driven development with people of various backgrounds working together to create healthy and prosperous communities.

Since 2006 it has supported projects in North Korea to build mutual trust and end the famine. SFP has engaged in 17 visits to North Korea, dispatched 661 global volunteers from 6 countries, built 155 houses, and raised over $1 M for North Korea community development projects. SFP is connected to the US-based Service for Peace organization.

I was pleased to meet Kim Soo Yeon, the manager and volunteer center director, and Kang Youngmee, a volunteer. They indicated that this was a busy time of the year with many students in the field. I was glad that they accepted my gift and I wished them the best in their important work.


Published by David J. Smith

I am a career coach, consultant, and head of a not for profit - the Forage Center - that offers humanitarian education training. I also teach at George Mason University and Drexel University. A one time lawyer, I spent many years teaching in a community college where I was a Fulbright U.S. Scholar teaching in Estonia. I'm the author of Peace Jobs: A Student's Guide to Starting a Career Working for Peace (IAP 2016). I've been married to my best friend for over 31 years and we have two well adjusted adult children who teach me something new everyday. I live in Rockville, Maryland.

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