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U.S. ambassador reunites with former student after 35 years

U.S. Ambassador Kathleen Stephens said Thursday that she was recently reunited with one of the students she taught in the 1970s as a Peace Corps volunteer, describing the meeting as another reminder of her “unbreakable” ties with South Korea. 
Kathleen Stephens
Kathleen Stephens

The meeting between Stephens and the student, Lee Chul-won, who becomes a colonel in the South Korean Army, took place after Lee’s wife spotted a 1976 photograph Stephens had taken of him and posted on the U.S. Embassy’s website.

Lee sent a letter to Stephens and she invited him to visit the embassy, the U.S. ambassador wrote in an article she posted on her blog.

“It’s another reminder that connections in Korea are forever,” Stephens said in her article titled “unbreakable ties.”

Stephens, well known for her love of South Korea that dates back to the 1970s, has recently become more popular for her tireless efforts to mix with ordinary Koreans.

After graduating the Korean Military Academy, Lee has served a very full career in the Korean Army, including service in the Philippines, East Timor, and Iraq. Currently, Lee serves in a front-line unit of the Demilitarized Zone that separates the two Koreas.

Recalling Lee as a “very bright, hard-working and responsible” student, the U.S. ambassador said, “In many ways, his career embodies the spirit of ‘Global Korea’ that has transformed this country.”

Stephens is preparing to step down this fall as ambassador to Seoul after three years of working here. U.S. President Barack Obama nominated Sung Kim as the next ambassador, the first Korean-American to become Washington’s envoy to Seoul. 

(Yonhap News)