By Jeon Han and Yoon Sojung
First lady Kim Jung-sook on May 20 praised Korea.net Honorary Reporters for playing a role in bridging Korea and the world.
"You are like dandelion seeds that spread hope in the world," she said during an induction ceremony at the Yeongbingwan Guest House of Cheong Wa Dae. A combined 99 participants from 32 countries attended the ceremony.
"You have a precious commitment to share your resonating experiences with people from around the world. You also have a beautiful intention to extend and share your joy so that it can become the joy of others," Kim said.
"I am aware that you recognize joy or pain and injustice or justice from a very trivial moment, and hope that you share this finding with the world to create a bond among humankind. This is because you have love for humanity that you wish to live within 'us' rather than just 'me.'"
She added, "Your warm interest in and friendly attention to Korea make people from around the globe consider Korea 'a country of friends.'"
"Please take pride in yourself that the Korea you saw will become the Korea of people from around the globe."
Kim Tae-hoon, director of the Korean Culture and Information Service, explained the history of Korea.net Honorary Reporters to the first lady, saying, "This year, approximately 600 people will serve as Honorary Reporters from various countries to communicate with the world via Korean culture."
"With newcomers from 17 countries including Iraq, Morocco and the Netherlands this year, we expect to bring more diverse stories from the world to Korea.net readers."
He added, "From this year, vloggers who mainly feature Korean pop culture or Hallyu such as K-pop and Korean dramas will also join as Honorary Reporters to create more vibrant content."
The ceremony featured a host of participants from around the world. One of them was Williams Kyei from Ghana, who wore a traditional costume from his country.
Nicknamed "King of Wakanda" from the film "Black Panther" by his fellow Honorary Reporters, he said, "It was like a dream to meet the first lady who sat right next to me," adding, "She told us to become messengers of peace and that gave me a lot of strength. I realized how important our activities are."
Korea.net Honorary Reporters on May 20 pose for photos at the main garden in front of the main hall of Cheong Wa Dae after their induction ceremony.
A combined 74 such reporters and 25 vloggers attended. (Jeon Han)
Victoria Shangina from Russia, who designed the reporters’ new logo, said, "I designed this logo thinking that Korea.net itself is an international community. The logo represents the faces of people from the world regardless of nationality, race or age."
"The blue face means peace, the red face passion and the yellow face creativity."
Samy Rashad from Egypt made an oath on behalf of all of the Honorary Reporters during the ceremony. "It was a very special experience that will become a long-lasting memory. I will work hard to write about the beautiful side of Korea through my columns," he said.
This year’s ceremony saw the induction of 591 Honorary Reporters from 73 countries. They will write stories about Korea through social media channels including Facebook, YouTube, Instagram, Weibo and Youku as well as on the Korea.net homepage.