11 students honored for differences, achievementsMadeinkoreablog
Eleven young students with different cultural backgrounds from across the country received the fourth Korea Multicultural Youth Awards at a ceremony at the Korea Press Center in downtown Seoul, Thursday.
The grand prize went to Im Su-hwan, 17, from Gimje, North Jeolla Province. Born to a Korean father and a Japanese mother, the student in his second year at Deogam High School was honored for his leadership, academic performance and volunteer work.
“I have never received an award like this. It feels like I am dreaming,” Im said.
Winners were Heo Yeong-jae, 12, from Wontong Elementary School in Inje, Gangwon Province; Kang Se-rin, 16, from Gajwa High School in Incheon; and An Hye-jin, 18, from Sunsim Girls’ High School in Chilgok, North Gyeongsang Province; Sebakwi Bongsadan, a student volunteer group from Goyang, Gyeonggi Province; Li Xiangmin, 11, from the School of Global Sarang in Seoul; Gu Hye-mi, 12, from Hanbol Elementary School in Cheongju, North Chungcheong Province; and Cheong Kwon-woo, 14, from Cheonho Middle School in Seoul.
Others were Lee Eun-gyeong, 15, from Posan Middle School in Daegu; Park Sora, 18, from Busanjin Girls’ High School in Busan; and Cho Lubi, 17, from Jeongseon Information Technical High School in Gangwon Province.
The contest was organized by The Korea Times and sponsored by the Ministry of Gender Equality and Family.
“Multicultural families are becoming an important part of Korean society,” said Minister Kim Hee-jung, congratulating the winners. “And children from these families have the potential to empower and enrich Korean society. That’s why we need to pay attention to these children. I would like to say to these children that families and society are there to help them.”
“I’ve looked through their profiles, and was amazed by their talent in language, arts, music and sports,” said Lee Chang-sup, president-publisher of The Korea Times. “Many have shown exceptional leadership and had clear dreams for life, which is very important. Some are less affluent than others, but I felt a sense of optimism in them which will enable them to overcome hardships.”
Rep. Jasmine Lee from the ruling Saenuri Party said, “I’ve been attending the awards since 2012. Each year I feel cheerful and more hopeful after meeting the awardees.”
This year, the Special Semoon Chang award was established, named after a professor in the economics department at the University of South Alabama in the United States who has been a columnist for The Korea Times for 15 years.
“Reading about the awards, he told us that he would donate all of his fees for this cause,” Lee said.
The new award was given to Kang Se-rin who showed exceptional talent in languages.
Kim Joon-sik, the honorary chairman of Asian Friends and the chief judge, said the main criteria upon which the six judges selected the winners were academic achievement, leadership skills and community volunteerism.
The contest was launched in 2012 to recognize children of interracial families. According to ministry statistics, the number of children with multicultural backgrounds is over 200,000, and will continue to rise.
Among the guests who attended the ceremony were Tunisian Ambassador Mohamed Ali Nafti, Ecuadorian Ambassador Oscar Herrera Gilbert, Philippine Ambassador Raul S. Hernandez and Bangladeshi Ambassador Zulfiqur Rahman.