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KEI Spotlight

Ambassadors' Dialogue 2011

December 13, 2011


Each year, the Korea Economic Institute (KEI) hosts the United States Ambassador to Korea and the Korean Ambassador to the United States across the United States to embark on a series of public and private programs on U.S.-Korea relations through the U.S. The tour – known as the Ambassadors’ Dialogue on Korea – has been a premier annual KEI event since its inauguration in 1992, usually covering five or more cities over a one week period.

In each city the two Ambassadors address audiences of civic leaders, business representatives, students, veterans, local media, and often state or local political leaders. The Ambassadors address the current security and economic situation on the Korean peninsula and the state of U.S.-Korean relations. The core event in each city is a joint appearance by the two Ambassadors at a luncheon or dinner program sponsored by a local organization. 

Over the years, the Ambassadors’ Dialogue became one of most successful public education and outreach programs on Korea in the United States today. The programs have served to inform public opinion leaders in cities around the country of current developments in Korea and U.S.-Korea relations and the value of the relationship to the United States, to raise the level of interest in Korea more around the country, and to build a network of organizations and community leaders with which KEI can work to develop additional program opportunities. The joint participation of the two Ambassadors in the same program provides a concrete symbol of the closeness of the relationship between these two allies. There is no comparable program with any other country in the world.


2011 Program:

This year, the Ambassadors' Dialogue delegation visited six cities and four states during a duration of five days. The two Ambassadors, Ambassador Han Duk-soo and Ambassador Kathleen Stephens, were accompanies by Secretary Lee Sang-min of the ROK Embassy, and three members of the KEI staff, Ambassador Jack Pritchard, Vice President Abraham Kim, and Director of Public Affairs and Regional Issues Sarah Yun.

The group visited the following cities and states:

1.      Kansas City and Independence, MO (November 29-30)

2.      Provo and Salt Lake City, UT (November 30-December 1)

3.      Reno and Carson City, NV (December 1-December 2)

4.      Phoenix, AZ (December 2-December 3)


Independence & Kansas City Missouri:

The Ambassadors and delegation began this year's Ambassadors' Dialogue with a program at the Truman Library, led by Dr. Michael Devine, Director of the Harry S. Truman Presidential Library. After taking a tour of the facility, and seeing many original documents signed by President Truman, they participated in a wreath-laying ceremony on Truman's grave at the library courtyard. following the ceremony, they participated in a private luncheon and a media/press conference. The conference was followed by a program and moderated conversation at the Truman Library. The program was introduced by Dr. Devine, with moderation from KEI's Ambassdor Jack Pritchard. In addition to some sight-seeing around the city, the Ambassadors spent the evening at a dinner hosted by Mayor Pro Tem of Kansas City, Cindy Circo, that included business and community leaders from the area.


Salt Lake City, Utah

The next stop on the trip was Salt Lake City Utah, where the two Ambassadors started off their trip with a program at Brigham Young University. They first met with Dr. Sandra Rogers, International Vice President of the University, and then participated in a private luncheon with several of the University's administrators, faculty, and students. Later that afternoon, the Ambassadors were featured in a program entitled, "Ambassadors' Dialogue: Critical Issues in U.S.-Korea Relations." The program was attended by political science and international relations students of the David M. Kennedy Center for International Studies and featured Dr. Kirk Larsen, Professor of History, as the moderator. As part of their evening events, the Ambassadors met with Lt. Governor of the State of Utah, Gregory S. Bell and ended their stay in Utah with a dinner hosted by the State of Utah International Trade and Diplomacy Office and Brigham Young University.


Reno & Carson City, Nevada

On the third leg of the trip, the Ambassadors began their stay in Nevada with a program at the University of Nevada, moderated by Dr. Thomas Cargill, Professor of the Department of Economics at the University of Nevada, Reno. Following the program was a reception and light lunch with a group of University of Nevada, Reno administrators, faculty, and students. The delegation then traveled to Carson City where they have a meeting with Lt. Governor Brian Krolicki and local  leaders. The participants of the meeting included, Dale Erquiaga, Senior Advisor of the Office of Governor Sandoval; Dana Bennett, Regional Director of the Governor's Office of Economic Development; Alan DiStefano, Global Business Director of GOED; Lauren Bateman from the Office of Senator Harry Reid; Ashley Carrigan, State Director of the office of Senator Dean Heller; Stacy Parobek, State Director of the Office of Congressman Mark Amodei; David Cameron, Vice President of Sales and Business Development at EBARA International; Jay Chmelauskas, President of Western Lithium; and Dennis Bryan, Senior Vice President of Development at Western Lithium. They ended their stay in nevada with a private dinner with representatives from the University of Nevada, Reno; Dr. Thomas Cargill, Elliott Parker, and Gregory Mosier; the Governor's Office; Senator Harry Reid's Office; Senator Dean Heller's Office; and Congressman Mark Amodei's Office.


Phoenix, Arizona

The final stop on the trip, Phoenix, Arizona, began with a welcome reception and meeting at the Greater Phoenix Economic Council office with outgoing Mayor, Phil Gordon, and incoming Mayor Elect, Greg Stnton, as well as with local business and community leaders. Their program began with an introduction from Rudy Vetter, Senior Vice President of GPEC for International Business Development and featured welcoming remarks from both current Mayor Phil Gordon and Mayor Elect Greg Stanton. Later in the evening, the Ambassadors participated in a second program at the Phoenix Art Museum, which was moderated by KEI's Dr. Abraham Kim. Following the program was a meeting (in Korean), reception, and dinner with local Korean American groups. The moderator for the meeting with Don Lee, who also provided a brief introduction of the four-five Korean associations present.


Media Coverage:

Ambassadors' Dialogue 2011 received a significant amount of media coverage in outlets around the United States, as well as some Korea based media as well. Please follow the links below to articles about this year's program.

South Korea and Arizona Trade is Focus of Talk Friday – The Arizona Republic

Thomas F. Cargill, UNR: Lessons from the Day Korea Came to Nevada –

Korean Ambassador Participates in Dialogue at BYU – BYU Universe

Korean Envoy: Trade Pact a Boon for Nevada – Nevada Appeal

Ambassador to South Korea Praises Utahans for Support of Free Trade Agreement – Global Utah Weekly

Korean Envoy to Rev Up Public Diplomacy in U.S. – Korea Times