In honor of Asian Pacific American Heritage Month and Democracy Prep’s upcoming 5th annual Korean Street Festival, the DP blog will be sharing stories from teachers and scholars about Democracy Prep’s unique Korean program.
Korean Street Festival
Saturday, May 19th, 2018
12PM – 4PM
134th Street between 7th & 8th Avenues
Free Food · Cultural Activities · Live Performances
If you’re a Democracy Prep high school scholar, you already have the unique experience of studying the Korean language for three years in school. You might be selected to go on a culturally immersive trip to South Korea or lucky enough to intern with The Korea Society in New York City. Three Democracy Prep scholars, Kadiatou Keita and Damaris Ruiz of Democracy Prep Harlem High School and Diavionne Robinson of Democracy Prep Charter High School, participated in a highly competitive policy internship at The Korea Society typically reserved for college students.
The Korea Society (TKS) is a nonprofit organization that promotes “greater awareness, understanding, and cooperation between the people of the United States and Korea.” Recently, TKS held a discussion on the potential policy summit between the United States and North Korea. Kadiatou, Damaris, and Diavionne received a private lesson on policy advisement where they learned about the nuances of the relationship between North Korea and the United States. The scholars worked with TKS’s policy officers, Stephen Noerper and Jonathan Corrado, who are advising the current presidential administration and several agencies within the United States and Europe.
“It was interesting to me to learn that both President Trump and Kim Jong Un are going into the summit with the mentality that they’re going to win,” Diavionne Robinson said. “It’s not necessarily that the summit is to create peace among the countries. It’s more to gain something.”
Democracy Prep emphasizes civic participation and encourages its students to be active citizens. This political internship gave the scholars a greater understanding of current world events.
“It was really exciting to learn more about the policies of a different country and culture,” Diavionne said. “I want to study Korean and International Relations in college, so it is important that I am aware of different policies and international events. I want to work in a different country. I need to understand not just what is happening in my community, but what is happening everywhere.”
Typically, DP scholars learn mostly about aspects of Korean culture such as Korean dance and the Korean language. This internship expanded Diavionne, Kadiatou, and Damaris’ understanding of the politics impacting the Korean peninsula.
“Korean is a big part of our lives and my life personally,” Diavionne said. “I’m turning 18 soon and will be able to vote, so I think that it’s important for us to be aware of what is going on politically, not only in Korea but also here in America because the summit involves both countries.”
To watch a video of this event, please click here. You can see our scholars in the Q&A section handing out microphones to some of the top journalists in the U.S. and Europe.