A group of some 80 young professionals in their 20s and 30s from 23 countries, many of whom are second generation Koreans or Koreans who emigrated at a young age… also called 1.5 Koreans… have gathered in Seoul this week, for the state-run annual Future Leaders Conference.
The participants, who have already established respectable positions overseas among political, corporate and diplomatic circles, came on invitation from the Overseas Koreans Foundation.
The five-day timetable provided a chance for the distinguished guests to meet with Korea's high-ranking officials and business community to discuss ways they can work together to further upgrade the country's profile in the world.
[Interview : Kyung B. Yoon, Executive Director
Korean American Community Foundation] "Even though we're living and operating and working in our respective countries and communities, that often there's a universal nature to the kinds of issues that we face."
Often caught between their responsibilities to carry on Korean heritage and to branch out into mainstream society, many of the future leaders also shared their experiences and common issues they face in their daily lives.
They agreed that understanding one's heritage and staying connected to the mother country can only help strengthen their influence in their respective positions.
[Reporter : Choi You-sun
firstname.lastname@example.org] "The program not only aims to help the participants better understand their roots, but also bring together young generation of Koreans from all around the world."
Officials at the event also cast light on the increasing roles of 1.5 and second generation Koreans within Korean communities abroad, as well as related to Korea, and their interests to actively take part in such initiatives.
[Interview : Lee Se-na, Consultant
UNICEF] "I think by doing well in what we do in our respective roles I think that collectively that will help improve the image of Korea and the ideas about Korea."
As for the future, the general consensus was that there is a pressing need to set up a network bringing together all young and highly-qualified professionals of Korean descent… in their contributions to enlarging the identity and influence of Korea on the global stage.
Choi You-sun, Arirang News.