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The Peninsula

The Future Today

Published January 12, 2012
Category: South Korea

By Philippe Cousteau, Chief Spokesperson, USA Pavilion 2012 & Abraham Kim, Ph.D., Vice President, Korea Economic Institute

Tomorrow is the 9th annual Korean American Day. As we celebrate the contributions of Americans of Korean descent, we also look to the future and how events like Expo 2012, Yeosu Korea further weave the Korean and American experiences together.


Korean American Day was declared in 2003 by the U.S. Congress to celebrate Korean Americans on the occasion of the centennial of Korean immigration to the U.S.

January 13 is Korean American Day every year because it was on that day in 1903 that just over 100 Korean immigrants arrived in Hawaii from Korea.  There, they worked in the sugar cane fields. Today, there are nearly one and a half million Korean Americans. The U.S. is the second largest overseas Korean community in the world after China.

Much like most immigrant groups who came to America to start new lives, Korean Americans are an important part of the menagerie of the American spirit.  From the food and traditions to their important part in American commerce, for over 100 years, Korean Americans’ impact and contributions to America have been significant.

It’s important for us to recognize this impact when we talk about the USA Pavilion at the World Expo to be held in South Korea this summer.


This summer, Expo 2012 will be held in the seaside city of Yeosu, South Korea from May 12 to August 12, 2012.  Joining more than 100 countries and eight international organizations, the USA Pavilion will build on the overall theme of “The Living Ocean and Coast,” and the broad impact they have on the economy, environment, and the global community.

The USA Pavilion themes in Yeosu, South Korea will be Diversity, Wonder and Solutions. Through a host of exciting technologies, dynamic storytelling and America’s multicultural lens, the USA Pavilion experience will explore the vital connection between the health and well-being of cultures and communities and the future of one of our most important resources: the ocean. Highlighting the diverse and dynamic nature of America’s ocean and coastal environments, the USA Pavilion will reveal the colorful mosaic of American life. Its stories and experiences will convey the core values of innovation, partnership and hope that define the American spirit.

The USA pavilion at Expo 2012 also represents an opportunity to continue to build the mutual understanding between the United States and Korea that inspires innovative solutions for the challenges that face the global community including:  global security, economic sustainability, and food security.  Through a unique and ongoing partnership, our two nations have advanced practical solutions to the world’s energy and environmental challenges.

Expo 2012 is an opportunity to celebrate this shared vision for a brighter future.

The USA Pavilion 2012 team is proud to be working with the Korean Economic Institute, whose experience and knowledge regarding Korea and Korean-Americans has proved extremely valuable to the project.


This summer also provides an exciting opportunity for American university students who have Korean language skills.  As the official university partner of USA Pavilion 2012, the University of Virginia will administer the Student Ambassadors program, selecting 40 US citizens/permanent resident students from colleges and universities around the country and globe to represent America at the USA Pavilion. The student ambassadors will play many roles in the 12,000-square foot Pavilion. In addition to greeting visitors, government officials and dignitaries, they will provide administrative, protocol and programming support.  This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity and those interested have until February 10th to apply at


Photo from USD Space’s photostream on flickr Creative Commons.

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