|President of YFU International Korea Shin Chung-ha. (YFU Korea)|
The Youth for Understanding in Korea, a nonprofit student-exchange organization, is on a mission to build a bridge between Korea and Japan, according to its president.
Shin Chung-ha, 73, the president of YFU International Korea, has been leading the organization since its foundation in 1989.
He said YFU Korea’s program first started between Korea and Japan with the goal of “raising youth awareness and decreasing historical hostility between the two nations.”
In the past 24 years, more than 500 students from the two countries have participated in the program to learn about each other’s history and culture, according to Shin.
In recognition of his contribution to the ties between two countries, Shin was awarded last year the Prince Takamado Prize, which was established to commemorate late Prince Takamado Norihito of Japan.
The late prince was honorary president of the Japan Football Association during the 2002 Korea-Japan Worldcup, and visited Seoul to build ties between the two countries. It was the first official visit by the Japanese royal family since World War II.
|YFU Korea President Shin speaks with Princess Hisako during a special funding event in Tokyo on Sept. 10. (YFU Korea)|
Princess Hisako, the widow of Prince Takamado, who currently serves as chairwoman of the Japan-Korea Development Fund committee, organized recently a special event in Tokyo, inviting business leaders from the two countries.
The YFU Korea president also attended the event as a guest speaker to highlight his efforts to enhance mutual partnership and friendship between countries.
“Our basic principle is to eradicate the bitterness between countries with the ultimate goal of contributing to world peace,” Shin said.
The primary goal of YFU Korea, Shin added, is to nurture grassroots diplomats who can work for the global community.
YFU Korea’s student exchange effort has continued to grow and it currently organizes short- and long-term exchanges with 65 member countries, he said.
By Oh Kyu-wook (email@example.com