Honorable Mark Kirk, U.S. Senator for Illinois, joins with Meridian International Center in celebrating the U.S.-Congress-Korean National Assembly

Senator Kirk and Ambassador Holliday interact during remarks
Senator Kirk and Ambassador Holliday interact during remarks

On July 29, 2014, Meridian International Center was pleased to co-host the 33rd Anniversary Reception for more than 100 guests celebrating the U.S.-Congress-Korean National Assembly Exchange Program, and featuring The Honorable Mark Kirk, U.S. Senator for Illinois, Ambassador Stuart Holliday, President and CEO of Meridian International Center, and Mr. Scott Thompson, Director of Government Relations for Samsung Electronics Co, Ltd.  The reception took place in the Hart Senate Office Building.

Jointly funded by the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs and the Korean National Assembly, Meridian has implemented the program for the past 17 years to help bring together young professionals from the U.S. and the Republic of Korea for a memorable and enriching opportunity to broaden perspectives on the legislative process; the history of U.S. - Korean relations; and current economic, political, and security aspects of this bilateral relationship.

Since its inception in 1981, the program – one of the highest profile exchange programs between the U.S. Congress and a foreign parliament to date – has successfully engaged approximately 400 congressional interns, staff, and students, resulting in more effective collaboration and visibility between governments, in-depth intercultural experiences, and opportunities for long-term relationship-building.

Following an introduction by Ambassador Stuart Holliday, Scott Thompson offered remarks on behalf of Samsung Electronics Co., Ltd., who has joined the program for the first time this year as lead corporate sponsor.  Samsung will engage with the participants during the U.S.-portion of the exchange, and is also excited to host the U.S. and Korean participants at the company’s new Innovation Museum in the exurban city of Suwon during their visit to Seoul.  Click here to read more about the company and its support of educational programs like these that help prepare and equip young leaders to engage and collaborate with their peers, both locally and abroad.

Following Mr. Thompson’s comments, guests were honored to hear from Senator Kirk, who has played a valuable role as an ongoing Congressional sponsor of the exchange program.  Senator Kirk assumed the program’s sponsorship in 2003 during his tenure in the House of Representatives, and has continued annual involvement, following his election to the U.S. Senate.  Click here to read his comments on this year’s co-hort.

Following remarks, guests – which included Members of Congress, staffers from various congressional offices, alumni of the exchange program, and this year’s cohort – enjoyed the opportunity to meet and connect with one another, as well as engage in a short Q&A segment with U.S. Representative Ed Royce (R) and Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, who attended the reception with spouse and Meridian Trustee, Marie Thérèse Royce, Senior Director of International Public Affairsfor Alcatel-Lucent.


Related News