LOKA-USA 2002 Conference and Awards
Mission and Activities
Tonight, eighteen representatives of the League of Korean Americans-USA, Inc., from as far as Hawaii to the West and East coasts of the country, joined their counterparts in the Washington area for a National Conference and an Award banquet convened at the McLean Hilton in Virginia on December 1.
. The world-renowned 10th degree black belt, father of American Tae Kwon Do, Jhoon Rhee, served as the Master of Ceremony to the attentive two hundred guests. He introduced Kim Miller, its President, who thanked the volunteers and reminded everyone to remember the soldiers and civilians who are serving around the world during the holiday season in safeguarding the security of the homeland.
Dr. C.D (Dan) Mote, President, University of Maryland, the keynote speaker of the event, focused his talk on public education at the tertiary level. He said that, following World War II, the U.S. committed itself to education as a “public good.” The GI Bill funded education for returning veterans and expanded state support for education. Citizens consider higher education mandatory to their fulfillment and nations throughout the world are attempting to replicate our higher education system.
However, in the mid 1970s, the policy of education as a public good began to shift as a “personal benefit” and loans began to replace scholarships, making institutional policy and individuals needs moving in opposite directions. The outcome is the stretching of individuals through increased debt and tuition costs. Dr. Mote asked, “With 2/3 of the nation’s students graduating with an average debt of $17,000, we have to question whether this national policy is good for the future of the nation?” He concluded, “The principle of public good versus personal benefit needs to be reconsidered, especially as we move into the knowledge economy where the future relies on knowledge-based jobs and industry.”
Afterwards, Mr. Dong Keon Kim, soloist, who studied music in Italy and Germany and has performed across the U.S., uplifted the evening with well-known classical and Christmas songs, interspersed throughout the program.
LOKA-USA, a non-profit organization, established in 1994, has a mission to work towards the elimination of prejudice and ignorance of diversity, to promote active participation of Korean Americans and ethnic groups in civic and political processes, and to preserve Korean culture. LOKA-USA is known for its citizenship drives and voter registration campaigns as well as educational programs and information on political views and policy agenda.
Five well-deserved people were selected to be among the awards recipients. First of all, Dr. Yoon-Soo Park received the Community Service Award. He is a Program Director of the Office of Naval Research and Chairman of the Korean American Scholarship Foundation, responsible in administering endowment funds of nearly $2.5 million. Dr. Park has been playing a vital role in developing a cooperative program of science and technology in Korea and the U.S. Among his numerous awards and decorations, he was also awarded recently the Korea Global Award by the Council on Korean Studies at Michigan State University for his commitment and unselfish devotion to the well-being of Korean communities and global society.
The Businesswoman-of-the Year award was presented to Susan Au Allen. She is presently the President, US Pan Asian American Chamber of Commerce. She came to the U.S. from Hong Kong in 1970 in response to a White House invitation. An attorney and law partner in Paul Shearman Allen & Associates of Washington, D.C., and Hong Kong, she is nationally recognized for her work on immigration, international trade and investments. Ms. Allen’s op-eds have been published in USA Today, The Washington Tims, The Baltimore Sun, Asian Week, Asian Fortune, among others. She has appeared as a commentator on C-Span, CNN, ABC, Fox News, “The News Hour,” PBS public affairs programs “To the Contrary” and “This is America,” and “The Editors,” a television program produced by The World Affairs Council of Montreal, Canada. Her TV appearance reaches millions of viewers in North America and Asia.
A frequent radio commentator on trade, US-China relations, Asian Americans, working women, affirmative action, recruitment of high technology professionals, scientists and engineers, and ethnic marketing strategies, ms. Allen’s audience includes coporate and government managers. She also spoke as an American “ambassador” in foreign countries, on U.S. political, cultural and business topics, through the U.S. Information Service’s speaker’s bureau.
Ms. Allen serves as director of innumerable boards and was Vice Chair of the Republican National Committees’ New Majority Council organized to reach out to minority communities across the nation.
For the Men-of-the-Year Award-1, Dr. Jay Khim deserved to be named. He is the Chairman and CEO of JWK International Corporation in Virginia and was awarded twice by the INC Magazine as one of the fastest growing private companies in America. Dr. Khim was also one of the co-founders of various Korean-American associations and serves on the board of multiple organizations such as INOVA Health systems, Wolf Trap Foundation, the Fairfax Chamber of Commerce, to name a few.
Senator John Warner, a Republican from Virginia, received the Men-of-the-Year Award-II. He joined the U.S. Senate in 1978 and was re-elected four consecutive terms. He has been in public service with seven different positions for over thirty five years. He owes his college and law education to a grateful nation that provided G.I. Bill opportunities to millions of veterans after WWII. During the intense period of the war in Vietnam, he served in the Department of Defense for over 5 years, completing his service as the Secretary of Defense.
Senator Warner chaired the Senate Armed Services Committee in 1978 and is now the top ranking minority member of the committee, and served for eight years on the Senate Intelligence Committee. He is also a member of the Virginia chapter of Veterans of Foreign Wars, and the American Legion.
Do Sun Jang, a staff reporter of The Korea Daily, won the Journalist-of-the-Year Award. He started his journalism career at The Korean Herald in Seoul. As one of the special Olympic coverage team, Do Sun covered many events related to the 1988 Seoul Olympic Games. Two years later, he moved to The Korea Daily and worked at the International Economic departments. Jang has been writing stories on Korean-American communities in the Washington area since March 2001.