Tuesday, July 5, 2005

12th Advisory Council on Democratic and Peaceful Unification Conference

So Christine and I came back this morning from NYC. Horrible flight with Song, Delta's low-budget airline, but we were just happy to get back after a fun and tiring weekend.

Since I mentioned a couple posts below that I would provide more details here it is. First, we recently were accepted as members of the 12th Advisory Council on Democratic and Peaceful Unification (ACDPU), which is organized by the South Korean government through the local Consulate General in San Francisco. Our friend, Patty, told us about it so we went ahead an applied. We really didn't know what it entailed, but it was part of our desire to get more involved in our new home, which I wrote about before.

A month or so after we submitted our application we got accepted and then informed about an upcoming conference in NYC. At the time, I told Christine that the ACDPU committee or South Korean Consulate General definitely doesn't read my blog since I clearly express my lack of fondness for South Korea's President Roh Moo-hyun and his policies towards North Korea. But later we found out this two-year advisory council committee is independent of an administration and can overlap with two administrations on certain years.

Anyway, our parents didn't know about our commitment until I met with them for breakfast while I attended the OhMyNew International Citizen Reporters' Forum June 23-26 in Seoul. During an early morning breakfast with my parents (who are in Korea half the year for business and half in Chicago) and Christine's parents, I told them Christine and I were going to NYC for a conference for this advisory council.

Christine's father knew a lot of the details since he served as Consulate General in NYC years ago and my father knew a lighter side since his good high school friend, Jae Jung Lee, was currently heading the organization overseeing these advisory councils. He's Vice Chairman of the Presidential Advisory Council on Democratic and Peaceful Unification, and the President of South Korean is the official chair (amazes me how he's president of South Korea). My father told me the position was relatively inactive, but welds a lot of power since this government entity had a lot of money and the current administration was using it as an organizing force for the next election campaign in South Korea. Since the ACDPU, or "Pyung Tohng" in Korean, is organized by districts it serves as a great campaigning infrastructure.

The conference was okay and a decent speech was given by Ambassador James Lilley. After the conference, Christine and I worked remotely and left Friday evening for the Poconos. We stayed at a bed & breakfast place in Jim Thorpe, a quaint town in Pennsylvania. On Saturday, we went whitewater rafting, which was a six hour adventure, and horseback riding on Sunday. Beautiful valley, river, and countryside. If you live NYC or the surrounding area and haven't visited, check it out and spend a weekend there.

Monday morning we got back into NYC and met up with my brother and his wife for dinner and then headed to Roosevelt Island for the annual New York City fireworks show. It was my first fireworks show in a long time and nice to watch in the company of family and loved ones. Here are some pictures below:

Roosevelt Island. July 4th, 2005

Macy's NYC Fireworks Show 2005

Bottom of Times Square 42nd & 7th

Bottom of Times Square

Definitely felt like a tourist taking the Time Square pictures. I miss the energy of NYC, but I enjoy my new life with Christine, quality of life in San Francisco, and the work of my new startup.

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