Earlier this week, I attended the Harvard Global Networking event in Seoul, Korea that was part of the university’s alumni outreach platform, one of two dates on the calendar so far (I missed the first one) when up to 4,000 Harvard alums from all of its schools in 60 cities worldwide get together. Since I became an alumni, I took these kinds of events for granted having lived in New York for so long and I finally got a chance to appreciate firsthand Harvard’s global reach and impact by meeting the members of the Harvard Club of Korea, a tight-knit, fun, friendly, welcoming, and definitely accomplished group.
I wanted to write this post to introduce one of the leaders of the club who has become a very good friend since I made the jump to Asia, to tell the club’s story and highlight future activities and events. Below is my interview of HeeJin Lee ’05, the Secretary of the Harvard Yard Club of Korea, and a few photos from the event that took place at WooBar at the W Hotel Seoul.
How big is the Harvard Club of Korea?
There are two official Harvard alumni organizations in Korea: the Harvard Club and the Harvard Yard Club. The former is the umbrella alumni organization for all of Harvard schools and programs, while the latter is for Harvard College alumni only. I’m not sure of the numbers for the Harvard Club, but wouldn’t be surprised if there weren’t a few hundred/a thousand alumni registered. As for the Harvard Yard Club, we have about a hundred fifty to two hundred members on our roster, with a core group of twenty alumni who are very active.
What type of events do you have and how often do you meet?
We mostly have get-togethers for dinner every few months. We’ve tried to diversify our gatherings by having events with other Ivy undergraduate alumni organizations and by encouraging more informal/smaller gathering of alumni.
What is the typical profile of a Harvard Club of Korea member?
Again, I will speak to the Yard Club members. It’s difficult to generalize across a diverse group of alumni, but generally our alumni are multi-lingual, multi-cultural and are working professionals in corporate Korea.
Are there a lot of expats?
I think the term “international” fits our group better than “expats.” Many of our alumni have significant experiences living and working all over the world, and certainly our younger alumni pursue graduate school outside of Korea after working for a few years in Seoul.
Can you give us your background and connection to the club?
I’m actually the Secretary of the Yard Club. I came to the post when our previous secretary Sunghee Moon (’00) returned to the States for her job.
What has been your highest profile event since you’ve been involved?
President Faust’s visit to Korea last March. We co-organized the event with the Harvard Alumni Association and the Harvard Korea Institute in Cambridge, and co-hosted the event with the Harvard Club of Korea.
What do you see as the future of the club?
I’d like the Yard Club to become a strong bedrock for the Harvard College alumni in Korea.
How can more Harvard alumni in Korea get more involved?
Contact me (email@example.com) so that I can direct you to the Harvard Club and/or add you onto the Yard Club listserv!