Girls’ Generation catalysed education diplomacy between New York and Korea


Girls’ Generation, who is promoting K-Pop worldwide, has been named as one of the main contributors in attracting the ‘State University of New York Korea’ to be set up as the first overseas branch school in Korea and the university will be opened next year March in Incheon.

Here are the details explaining how Girls’ Generation has accomplished such an educational mission, which is something unrelated to their career or the showbiz in general.

Since 2009, the city of Incheon has been seeking educational institutions to set up their overseas branch school at the Songdo Global Campus. The Songdo Global Campus, constructed with the expenditure of 1.142 trillion Won, is built to vitalize Incheon’s Songdo International City. However, it was not an easy task. Students who planned to move into the campus left one by one for other places. Although the 650 thousand-square-meter campus was built with a wide and comfortable environment, it was left empty as no one moved in.

This was caused especially by the change in decision of the State University of New York – Stony Brook University, which first planned to move in this September. Due to a 20% budget cut from the New York government to the main school, the new president of Stony Brook University Samuel Stanley decided to restructure the foundation policy.

As various states in the US cut down financial support for their state universities, this particular university was also affected, especially when President Samuel Stanley did not know Korea well, and a bad impression was left because of the left-winger mayor Song Young-gil. Attracting the school to Korea then became a more difficult task.

However, the change occurred at an unexpected stage when Mr. Kim Choon-ho (Vice President for Public and International Affairs at Konkuk University Korea) visited President Samuel Stanley’s office; Girls’ Generation’s photo appeared in front of his eyes.

After asking, Mr Kim found out that even though Mr Stanley did not know Korea well, he came to know K-Pop, including Girls’ Generation, as an influence from his daughter, a ‘hardcore’ Girls’ Generation fan in her 20s.

Coincidentally, Mr. Kim was on good terms with the chairman of SM Entertainment – Lee Soo-man. Mr. Kim was able to start a conversation with Mr. Stanley on Girls’ Generation. As Mr. Stanley gradually built a good impression on Korea, a visit to Korea in September 2010 was immediately arranged.

Mr. Kim took the opportunity to persuade Mr. Stanley, who was visiting Korea and Mayor Song Young-gil introduced the well-equipped global campus with sufficient operation fund to Mr. Stanley. At the same time, he also presented his outstanding foreign language ability, global mind and educational visions to him.

Girls’ Generation played the role of catalyser in the process. A dinner was arranged between Girls’ Generation and Mr. Stanley, where the members talked to him in a harmonious atmosphere. The members also took a photo with Mr. Stanley and presented an autographed CD to Mr. Stanley’s daughter as gift.

Through this series of incidents, Mr. Samuel Stanley gave a confirmed positive answer on the decision to set up a branch school in Korea. In addition to the two colleges built, another three colleges are expected to be constructed next year, during the second semester and Girls’ Generation is the ‘top contributor’ to this success.

Mr. Samuel Stanley attended the ‘SM Town Live in New York’ concert on October 24th with his daughter. Afterwards, he met Lee Soo-man during his visit to Incheon and told him about his attendance at the concert.

During this process, Mayor Song Young-gil paid a visit to New York to meet Mr. Stanley and he found out that Mr. Stanley spent efforts memorizing the names of the nine members, as well as learning more about K-Pop.

Girls’ Generation also made contributions during the Incheon Global Fair & Festival 2009, as they attracted visitors after being appointed as ambassadors. It was known that Hyoyeon was born in Incheon. Mayor Song Young-gil also established a good relationship with Chairman Lee Soo-man when he was a member of Parliament.

In response to this, Mayor Kim Wol-lyong said through Korean media, “In fact, before Mayor Ahn Sang-soo was in office, the plan for Song-do Global Campus was made but no one dreamed of its opening. However, with the help of Girls’ Generation in diplomacy, as well as Mayor Song’s proficient foreign language and enthusiasm towards education, the opening of the first overseas branch school in Korea was made possible.”

Credit: asiae.co.kr
Photo credit: Issue Daily
Translated by: imwhywhy@fanwonder.com

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