Posted by David Woodward on Feb 10, 2021
It is my distinct pleasure to have the opportunity to introduce our newest Rotary member in the category “Diplomatic Member.”  I would like to welcome the new Consul General of the Republic of Korea in Seattle, Won-Jik Kwon, who was appointed to his new post in December 2020.  Anyang hasayo! 
He most recently served as Director General of the Foreign Affairs and National Security Policy Bureau in the Office of Government Policy Coordination in Seoul, Korea. 
A career diplomat who has served in Korea, the United States, Afghanistan, People’s Republic of China, and the Philippines, Won-Jik first joined the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in 1993.  His first tour in the U.S. was in June of 2001 when he was appointed First Secretary at the Korean Embassy in Washington, D.C. 
In 2004 Won-Jik was transferred to the Korean Embassy in the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan and in 2005 received the Prime Minister’s Citation for his service.  He was clearly one to watch from that point on, so in 2006 Won-Jik was appointed to be Assistant Secretary in the Office of the President of Korea where he served for two years.  In 2008, Won-Jik was appointed to the role of Executive Assistant to the Minister in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade.  After a two-year stint in the Minister’s office Won-Jik was appointed Director of the North Korean Nuclear Affairs and Negotiations Division in the Office of Korean Peninsula Peace and Security Affairs within the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade.
Quick Tip: if you’re looking for a club member with some expertise in nuclear negotiations, I think we all know who to ask!
The next three years Won-Jik served in the People’s Republic of China as a Counsellor in the Korean Embassy, and in 2014 was appointed Minister in the Korean Embassy in the Republic of the Philippines.  Parenthetically, Won-Jik attended meetings of the Rotary Club of Manila which was established by Seattle Rotary in 1919 so he already has a connection to the “mother club!”
We are hoping that Won-Jik and his wife will enjoy being in the “West Coast Washington” which I think he will find has a lot of advantages compared to the Washington on the East Coast!  The Greater Seattle area has extensive ties with Korea.  We have the fourth largest Korean-American population among U.S. cities, and the Korean consulate now has a fantastic new building in Lower Queen Anne from which to serve the Northwest region.
Won-Jik graduated with a degree in Spanish Language and Literature from the nation’s most prestigious institution, Seoul National University, in 1993 and is a true internationalist.  Won-Jik is interested in encouraging increased integration of the  Korean-American community with local communities, particularly in various sectors such as business, technology, and culture.  Clearly Seattle Rotary has a role to play in supporting Consul General Kwon and his diplomatic team in this effort. Moreover, our club will benefit greatly from Won-Jik’s broad expertise in global affairs. Our Diplomacy Initiative Task Force, led by Dr. Skip Rowland and Dr. Suzanne Griffin, is excited to have Consul General Kwon join Seattle Rotary and our task force’s Blue Ribbon Panel along with fellow diplomatic and public official leaders at the consular, state, county, and city level. 
Welcome to Seattle Rotary, Won-Jik! We’d love to hear your thoughts about taking on this new role in Seattle.
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