“To Pass Down All that I Have Learned and Gained to Students”

South Korea's ambassador to the United Nations, Oh Joon, speaks during a meeting of the U.N. Security Council Monday, Dec. 22, 2014, at the United Nations headquarters. The U.N. Security Council placed North Korea's bleak human rights situation on its agenda Monday, a groundbreaking step toward possibly holding the nuclear-armed but desperately poor country and leader Kim Jong Un accountable for alleged crimes against humanity. (Photo: AP/NEWSis)

South Korea’s ambassador to the United Nations, Oh Joon, speaks during a meeting of the U.N. Security Council Monday, Dec. 22, 2014, at the United Nations headquarters. The U.N. Security Council placed North Korea’s bleak human rights situation on its agenda Monday, a groundbreaking step toward possibly holding the nuclear-armed but desperately poor country and leader Kim Jong Un accountable for alleged crimes against humanity. (Photo: AP/NEWSis)

Former UN ambassador Oh Joon is known amongst diplomats as one with good manners, with proficiency in the English language, who can also play the drums, and sends hand-drawn cards for New Year’s greetings. As the writer, I completely agree with such descriptions, but I also have one more thing to add. Oh Joon is uncharacteristically kind and risks his all to care for others. Many have wondered how the former ambassador has fared after stepping down from his position as UN diplomat of 38 years.

This July, Oh is scheduled to begin research activities in Singapore (the country of his first UN post) as visiting professor at S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies. When he returns to Korea, he will be full-time professor for the master’s course “UN Peace Studies” at Kyunghee University’s newly opened Graduate School of Peace and Welfare. This new master’s program is the first in Asia to be jointly formed by the UN (World Federation of United Nations Associations, WFUNA), an international organization (United Nations Institute for Training and Research, UNITAR), and a university (Kyunghee University). Former ambassador Oh will be in charge of this program.

Knowing his views and philosophy behind diplomacy will show how courses at the UN Peace Studies program will be taught.

“Diplomats are not those who simply love their country out of emotions. Diplomats are patriots who mull over and deeply reflect on their nation’s identity. And with this patriotism they must learn to love and respect others. Having an open mind and open heart are key to being a diplomat in an age of globalization because people naturally distance themselves from those of different physical appearance, ethnicity, language, culture, and religion. This wouldn’t be a problem if people did not come across one another, but the world has arrived at a time in which people must constantly see and work with another. Being unable to see past language, culture, and other differences will only hinder one’s progress. Therefore, we must strive to have open hearts from a young age.”

“UN Peace Studies is another opportunity but also a challenge. Through this program I want to pass down to students all the wisdom and knowledge I gained in my previous years” says Oh. Summary by Grace Seo Staff Reporter

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