President Manzullo's Remarks at Korean American Day 2015
January 13, 2015
(January 13, 2015) I want to welcome you all here today. We are privileged to have with us many distinguished guests, too many to name all. Nevertheless, I see my good friend Ambassador Bob King and former Ambassador Thomas Hubbard in the audience. I also want to recognize four former Members of Congress – Connie Morella, Bob Livingston, Toby Roth, and Senator George Allen. We are also honored to have two of our distinguished Board members of the Korea Economic Institute of America – Professor David Steinberg and Dr. Won-ho Kim.
I am the President and CEO of the KEI. From my days as an undergraduate student at The American University right here in Washington, D.C., I have always held a deep interest in Asia. I served for 20 years in the U.S. House of Representatives. For my entire time in Congress, I was on the Asia and Pacific Subcommittee, and, for the final six years of my tenure in the House, I was the Republican leader of this subcommittee. I held the first of two hearings in recent decades on the Korean Peninsula that was not about North Korea. I am constantly amazed about the phenomenal success of Korea because no other country can match its accomplishments over the past 60 years. While most of the world is stagnating, Korea is still on the move. Korea is a vibrant democracy and an economic powerhouse that now is exporting the Korean Wave! There is always a story about Korea in the news.
KEI’s mission is simple: to continue to expand economic, political, and security relations between the U.S. and South Korea. We aim to broaden and deepen the understanding among public policymakers and the American public about the importance of the U.S.-Korea relationship. KEI forms the natural bridge among the academic, business, diplomatic, policy, and civic communities of those interested in Korea.
We continue to promote that vision today. We come to tell the story of Korea’s rich and unique contribution to the American experience. Ever since the first Korean immigrants landed on America’s shores over 100 years ago, they have greatly contributed to the vitality and vibrancy of the United States. There are now over 1.7 million Americans of Korean descent living in the United States. Over 100,000 Korean children were miraculously saved and adopted as their own by loving American parents.
The Korean community in the United States is involved in all sectors of the American experience – from academia to acting and from public service to sports. This year’s focus is on sports. With the construction already started on various venues in Korea to prepare to host the Winter Olympic Games in 2018, it is appropriate that we honor four Americans of Korean descent who not only reached the pinnacle of success in their individual sports field as athletes but serve as a bridge of cultural understanding between the two great nations of Korea and the United States. That’s part of our mission at KEI. That’s why our honorees are deserving of this award because they epitomize the American Dream and serve as a role model not just for the United States but for Korea and around the world.