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A Global Family’s Service project: Kimchi-Making for One Korea

By Ami Mowris

Korean, South Korean and international Women leaders from twelve different nations gathered together for a kimchi-making service project hosted by Service for Peace, as part of the Global Peace Women’s Leadership Forum during Global Peace Convention 2019 on February 26th. Kimchi is a famous Korean traditional side dish made from salted and fermented vegetables.

“This is my very first time making Kimchi,” shared U.S. participant, Rachel Murray, Director of Music of the Lighthouse Church. “I think that having service projects like this—being able to not only be introduced to the North Korean Defectors, but also with one another—it was a nice time to be with them as my sisters and time to be together and just to have fun.” 

Rachel Murray (right) makes Kimchi at the Global Peace Women service
project during the Women's Leadership Forum in Seoul

Sooyeon Kim, Team Coordinator of Service For Peace, introduced the meaning of the Kimchi-making service project to over 50 participants from Korea and around the world. A common tradition for both North and South Koreans, making kimchi not only brought people together from North and South to recognize their shared heritage, but also provided an opportunity to invite international participants to join in the spirit of shared values as a global family. 

The Global Food Art Soodo Center sponsored the venue and kitchen, where participants were arranged into seven teams of seven or eight people. Each team consisted of at least one North Korean and one South Korean participant among international participants. Kim guided each team with the step-by-step process and would lead recreational ice breakers, such as having each team create a team name and team chants, allowing each participant to feel close to one another despite their language barriers. The participants enjoyed sharing the kimchi they made together, especially since, for some, it was their first time eating the traditional Korean dish.

Twelve international guests from each country gave a kimchi box to eighteen North Korean Defector families, expressing their support for peaceful reunification of the peninsula to come soon. One participant, Eiko Kawasaki, a North Korean defector who immigrated to Japan, shared how this has been one of her most significant and heartwarming experiences since escaping from North Korea.

Participants at the kimchi-making service project

GPW Chairwoman, Dr. Junsook Moon, thanked all the participants for creating such a heartwarming and familiar atmosphere. Many international guests and Korean guests shared their reflections on how each one of them were able to enjoy the service project that united them beyond language and cultural barriers.

Hyeonhee Kim, South Korean participant, said that this opportunity helped her “mature and understand Korean reunification and what Hongik Ingan signifies as I saw how the global women leaders, North Korean Defectors and Korean participants realize the service project together.”

Dr. Eva Latham, Professor of Human Rights studies from the Netherlands, also added how the service project was inspiring because it “was not only about learning to make kimchi, but experiencing togetherness and sharing by doing a down-to-earth simple activity as One Korea, One World.”

The service project brought together women from the North, South Korea, and from around the world as an example of one peaceful global family, where they were able to united in heart towards reunification and world peace.

The Global Peace Convention 2019 was co-convened by the Global Peace Foundation, Action for Korea United, and One Korea Foundation in partnership with the National Unification Advisory Council of the Republic of Korea from February 26 to March 1.