Essay and Writings of Yoon-Mee Lee

Granddaughter of Eekwon Lee and Jongja Byun

Eekwon Lee and Jongja Byun International Relations and Cultural Awareness Scholarship


My Responsibility

I would like to tell you a short story about ‘Human’s Social Responsibility.’ During the preparation time for my final exam, I participated in a school’s extracurricular activity where I watched some documentaries about the world. From one of those films, I found a very shocking truth occurring in the opposite part of the Earth from Korea.

That is about the Caribbean’s poor country, the Republic of Haiti. In a region called ‘Citi Soleil’ in Haiti, poor children are eating cookies which are made of mud to feel full. With “the Mud Cookies” they forget the feeling of hunger at the spot, but soon they suffer from pain and diarrhea. However, some rich upper class people in a beach in the same country don’t know about this fact. This documentary was made and broadcasted a few years ago.

Recently, people are focusing on Haiti again because the severe earthquake occurred this year in that area, Citi Soleil. The world affairs are so harsh. The cruel scenes of the damaged district broadcasted on TV overlapped with the story of this documentary, so I felt a heavy heart.

During the Korean War in 1950, the Republic of Haiti was a country which supported South Korea financially. After several decades, Korea became free from the war and poverty. Haiti, on the contrary, became poor. One factor that makes Haiti suffer from a shortage of food is the sudden rise of the international grain price. Ironically, some people said the recent rise of the international grain price may be affected by the mass production of Bio-ethanol which reduces the greenhouse gas on Earth. When I heard about this, I thought that there are many unexplainable things confusingly entangled in the world. When an action is taken to fix something, it may actually impact something else.

These days I’m reading a book called “Justice: What’s the right thing to do?” which is written by Michael Sandel, a professor of the Harvard University. ‘Is our world fair?’ ‘In the world of a free society, should citizens be able to build any obligation to others?’  Would I get the answers of these questions after I finish this book?

I was planning to write a ‘short story’ about ‘Human’s Social Responsibility’ but it became the story about ‘too big subjects’ with the eternally unsolvable problems. Then what is my responsibility? Education-conscious Korean parents usually say that: “The best responsibility of students is just studying hard.” I cannot deny that reality of Korea. Now I have to study for more than 12 hours a day again. Unfortunately, I’m in a situation where I cannot give a helping hand to those poor people around the world and for those global problems. It makes me sad. However, one day I will become the age in which I can do something real for the world. I hope I can be the person who actually works for something rather than worries about the responsibility.

July 18, 2010
Yoonmee Lee

Letter and Gift From Granddaughter of Eekwon Lee and Jongja Byun

Hello. I’m Yoonmee Lee, granddaughter, of the named individuals in the ‘Lee and Byun International Relations and Cultural Awareness Scholarship of Lint Center. In the past, I wrote some essays for Lint Center and did a small amount of volunteer work.

As I wrote in my last essay, I want to be a person who works in international organizations in the future. So the activities that I’ve done in this organization are very valuable learning experiences for me. I also appreciate the letter of thanks that Mr. Lint sent to me.

At that time, I was a high school student and I have now I entered a university. Few months ago, I started to think about making a foundation like Lint Center. These days, there are many university students who suffer from expensive registration fees in Korea. There aren’t many foundations in Korea which can give scholarship to these students. Fortunately, I received scholarship from my university. So I was thinking about making a nonprofit organization which can support students, who have interests in international exchange and want to work for it like me, and do some activities for the international exchange. That is, I was trying to benchmark the Lint Center in Korea.

 After entering the university, I found I could earn some money by tutoring students. With that money, I started a project to make a scholarship foundation on a small scale. While I was looking for some laws and rules in Korea which are related to the establishing a foundation, I confronted a serious problem. In Korea, I could not establish a foundation with the small amount of money I have on hand. That is because the Korean government only permits the establishment of a foundation, which has capital of more than 5 hundred million dollars. But I only have $800.

I thought about it a lot. In the case of Lint Center in U.S.A., they could raise small amount of funds and give scholarships to students adequately. I wondered why it is impossible in Korea. Finally, as I thought that this system, which only admits a foundation that has a large amount of money, I realized it is not fair.  Therefore, I raised an objection that requests the improvement of the system to the related government agency, such as the Seoul Office of Education, the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology, the Ministry of Justice, and the Anti-Corruption and Civil Rights Commission. At first, I received the answer, saying that it is impossible to establish a foundation with a small amount of capital because of the foundation’s stability. But as time when by, the answers that I received began to get more positive, saying that they set a high value on my opinion and are trying to improve the related laws. Laws and systems could not be changed in a short period of time, so I’m going to keep my work toward the improvement of this system.

Therefore, I want to donate a part of my money ($500) to Lint Center, which has close ties with me, before I make a foundation in Korea. The title of this scholarship can be made by the organization’s executive officers or to continue the  existing ‘Lee and Byun scholarship.’

I joined the donation program of UNICEF for the third world children since May. I only donate $20 per month, but this donating activity makes me feel happy and think about a lot of things. That is, I could get something more than the value of that amount of money. Because of Lint Center, I could get the opportunities of donating and I realized the pleasure of helping others. Thank you.

23 July 2012
Yoonmee Lee

Comment from Lint Center Staff:
We were surprised and pleased with this donation. We give our thanks for this scholarship which will be awarded in early 2013 with a deadline of January 2013.

About The Eekwon Lee and Jongja Byun International Relations and Cultural Awareness Scholarship

The Lint Center, a non-profit charity, focused on supporting the educational pursuits of the next generation of America’s Counterintelligence (CI) and National Security Workers, today formally announced the creation of the Eekwon Lee and Jongja Byun International Relations and Cultural Awareness Scholarship as part of the Center’s unveiling of the Pioneer Fund for Unfettered Freedom, Excellence, and Entrepreneurship. The newly established Pioneer’s Fund recognizes the contribution of individuals who demonstrate an unwavering commitment to freedom, a devotion to excellence, and an unbridled enthusiasm for entrepreneurship.

This scholarship will award $500 to the winning applicant to assist with tuition and other educational costs. The scholarship is open to both U.S. citizens and citizens of countries around the world. The deadline for scholarship consideration is January 31 each year. Each year will be a new scholarship competition.

Korean Language Version

이&변 국제관계 및 문화 장학금 (2011년 1월)

고 이이권씨와 변정자씨 부부는 진정한 자유 주의자이며, 어려운 과정중에서도 선택한 자유에 대해 감사 하신분들 입니다. 한국 전쟁에 의해 가족적인 비극을 겪기도 했고, 젊음을 바쳐 해외의 건설 현장에서 새로운 기회를 창출하기도 했습니다. 이장학금은 500달러를 수여하고 있습니다. 장학금 수여 기준은, 이장학금을 지원하신 변정자님의 개인적 경험을 존중하는뜻으로“ 국제 관계 또는 문화적 인식 또는 인생 전환의 개척적인 의지”등을 주제로 탁월한 에세이를 작성한 지원자에게 수여할 예정입니다.