By Hyangchoon Lee and Keiko Sometani
“Duty, Honor, Country” are guiding ideals for many young Americans graduating from the US Military Academy West Point, world-renowned for its leadership program and rigorous curriculum. Born and raised in the United States with a deep love for his country, Nahmdoug Kim is one of those graduates and currently serves as an intelligence officer for the US Army.
In an interview with Global Peace Foundation, Nahmdoug expressed that his sense of civic responsibility extends beyond the borders of his home country to building peace within the global community, especially within his ancestral homeland of Korea. The divided Korean peninsula, a source of tension in the region and world, is a human tragedy. Nahmdoug believes that the peaceful reunification of the two Koreas is a crucial step to building peace and shared prosperity on the peninsula and across the world.
1. What is your stance on the divided country? Are you interested in the unification of North and South Korea? Describe how you became interested in Korea and the challenges facing the peninsula today.
As someone who takes pride in his Korean heritage, I find the current situation on the peninsula to be very tragic, especially considering the families that have been divided for generations. But seeing South Korea's rise to prominence on the global stage made me realize that a unified Korea could achieve even more. A decade ago, the division of Korea was merely an afterthought for most people, but in light of recent events surrounding the peninsula, it is now at the forefront of geopolitics. And I believe the conditions are set for Korea to make unification a reality through deliberate steps and ownership of the issue.
2. What global implications do you think a divided Korea has? What about a united Korea?
A divided Korea would not only perpetuate the tension among regional and global actors but also subject the Korean families to further separation. Unification brought about by the Korean people's own determination and actions could be a great opportunity to demonstrate the unique Korean spirit and to spread the message of peace to the world.
3. What message would you like to share to other young people about the challenges facing Korea?
I would urge young people, especially fellow Koreans both in Korea and abroad, to educate themselves on this highly salient issue. Whether you are actively engaged in the issue of Korean unification, it will have a significant impact on all of us due to the complexity of the situation as well as the many different political actors involved. Though young Koreans may be apathetic to unification at the moment, I believe a unified Korea pursued through the proper process with the right motivation will come to benefit the Korean people and the world as a whole.
4. What is your dream for Korea?
My dream for Korea is that it seizes this tremendous opportunity to become a new nation founded on values of hongik-ingan, which means "benefiting all of humanity," and become a leader among nations in all aspects.
As a Korean-American, Nahmdoug is part of a growing international movement of people voicing their support for the dream of a peacefully united Korea that can bring prosperity not only to the country, but the region and world.
Founder of GPF, Dr. Hyun Jin P. Moon called on Koreans at home and in the diaspora to aspire to the “Korean Dream” at the 100-year commemoration of the March 1 Independence Movement in Seoul saying:
As we start this new century, let us once again be reminded of the sacrifices that our forefathers were willing to make, for a dream, a dream of creating an ideal nation that can bring world peace to the world.
That dream is the Korean Dream.
And that dream should be the dream that resonates and inspires a whole new generation, not only of Koreans but of all people around the world to dream of a better world of peace, harmony, and co-prosperity for all nations around the world.