The Korean Language Village celebrated its 20th year with drums, dance and dreams of a Village site with authentic Korean architecture becoming a reality.
Christine Schulze, executive director of Concordia Language Villages, announced Sup Sogŭi Hosu will soon have its own culturally authentic site at the Concordia Language Villages location on Turtle River Lake with initial plans for the site being unveiled at the celebration event. The Korean Language Village founding dean, Dr. Ross King, and current dean, Dr. Dafna Zur, spoke about the rich history of the program with an eye to the future. Both expressed their gratitude to philanthropists Kenny and Simone Park who, along with Simone Corporation, gave a $5 million gift to build a site for the Korean Language Village.
“You believed in us and committed to our vision with unbelievable generosity,” Zur said.
It was the Parks’ first visit to Concordia Language Villages near Bemidji, Minn. Their passion for students to learn Korean language and culture was evident in their gift and their presence at the event. Speaking warmly of the Concordia Language Villages leadership staff, Kenny Park greeted the audience.
“All of their love and devotion brought me here. They gave me the opportunity to be part of the Concordia Language Villages family,” Park said.
Concordia College President William Craft noted the importance of Concordia Language Villages and the students who attend as a bridge for peacemaking. Several other distinguished guests were in attendance at the recognition event including Ambassador Kathleen Stephens, retired ambassador to South Korea and the incoming president and CEO of the Korea Economic Institute of America.
“You young people are going to shape Korean/U.S. relations,” she said, addressing current villagers. “I can’t think of a better place to start that journey than here.”
The event culminated with a ceremonial groundbreaking and an authentic Korean meal and folded seamlessly into the July International Day, which began with the Peace Site rededication. The design phase for the new Korean site has begun and construction is anticipated to start in spring 2019.