PRESS RELEASE: Over 600 Participate in Telephone Town Hall on U.S. / Korean Foreign Policy

For Immediate Release
Friday, July 14, 2017

Media Contact:
Lindsay Harper  – Program & Communications Manager
(404) 524-5999

Atlanta, GA: Georgia WAND Education Fund, Inc. (GA WAND) and Asian Americans Advancing Justice – Atlanta (Advancing Justice – Atlanta) hosted a telephone town hall translated in real time into Korean, with three expert panelists who discussed the findings from research with 176 Korean American Georgians; current U.S. foreign policy initiatives; and what it feels like to be on the ground in Seoul. Even with a very narrow topic focus and utilizing two languages, engagement rates were high as the call was timely.

“We have to recognize that North Korea is a nuclear-capable nation and will continue to work to improve these capabilities,” Paul Carroll, program director at Ploughshares Fund, shared. “A lesson I believe applies from the experience with negotiations with Iran is that Korean American voices can have a special sway and influence.”

Moderated by Georgia WAND Program & Communications Manager, Lindsay Harper, the call also featured Dr. Kathryn Weathersby, a visiting Professor of History at Korea University, in Seoul, and co-founder and deputy director of the university’s Korean War Archive. Weathersby talked about the push for regime change may not prove effective now, especially given the current administration’s global reputation. She stated that unification may not be feasible because the North [North Korea] fears the South [South Korea] as a population and economic competitor.

James Chan Woo, Communications and Outreach at Advancing Justice – Atlanta, shared the findings from our joint research: 1) the need to fill missing information in regards to foreign policy and nuclear weapons, 2) the need to close the generational and gender divides, 3) the need to create accurate portrayals of North Korea in the media, 4) the need to connect Korean Americans’ vote to their issues of concern, and, from the project collaboration, outside the dataset, 5) the need to abandon U.S.-Centrism. For more information and a brief analysis of our findings, please read the report.

Participants asked questions of the speakers.  To hear the call in its entirety, please click here.

In response to strained relations between the U.S. and North Korea, the time is right to infuse the opinions of Korean Americans into the debate.  GA WAND, in partnership with Advancing Justice – Atlanta conducted the survey and two focus groups with Korean American in order to share results with Georgia’s U.S. Senator Johnny Isakson, who serves on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. With the seemingly escalating discourse around relations with North Korea, it is the hope of the study authors that opinions from Sen. Isakson’s Korean constituents can help him make more informed decisions at the federal level.

The Telephone Town Hall is the first of its kind that GA WAND has been involved in.  This project exemplifies GA WAND’s approach to ensure that affected, front line communities are in direct communication with decision-makers and elected officials. Georgia WAND is a southern, independent, grassroots organization with supporters from around the country.

To read more about our expert speakers, please click here.


About Georgia WAND Education Fund, Inc.

Georgia WAND Education Fund, Inc. educates the public and opinion leaders about the need to reduce violence and militarism in society, and redirect excessive military spending to unmet human and environmental needs.