Following His Heart to Korea
Following His Heart to Korea
  • Ewha Voice
  • 승인 2006.03.02 00:00
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▲ [Photo by Kim Ji-sun]Peter Beck, the North East Asia Project Director for the ICG

  One core phrase seems key to describing Professor Peter Beck, and that phrase is "one who listens to his heart." Professor Beck is the North East Asia Project Director for the International Crisis Group (ICG), an NGO on security issues, a lecturer at Ewha teaching an international organization course at the Graduate School of International Studies, and a Korea Specialist. His life and experiences remind us of something we often forget to live life by following what your heart tells you to do.
  E.V.: Can you tell us how you got interested in Korea and the ICG?
  Beck: I've been working for the ICG for a year and a half and I've spent a total of about four years in Korea. My first trip to Korea was just for a week in 1987 as a college student. It was just a backpack trip. But it made such a big impression on me that I changed my major to Asian Studies to study about Korea. I've worked in Washington at the Korea Economic Institute (KEI) for seven years. But I wanted to return to Korea. So when this opportunity came up from the ICG, I decided to come back.
  E.V.: Can you explain what you and your team do for the ICG?
  Beck: Our slogan is "working to prevent conflict worldwide." We're a research and advocacy organization. We do very rigorous research and our main strength is field research. Our reports are for a purpose?o help find solutions to problems, and we target government leaders and elites. Also, it's to help foreigners better understand Korea, and the situation here.
  E.V.: What first interested you about the ICG?
  Beck: I care about foreign policy issues and I also wanted a job that allowed me to focus on Korea. What I like about NGOs is that you're allowed to have your own voice because you don't represent a government or a company. One reason I didn't become a diplomat was because you officially take the opinion of the government. Also when you're a diplomat you're sent all over the world.
  E.V.: What are the challenges you face in your job, especially in making policy recommendations?
  Beck: My goal is to make everyone equally happy and equally upset. If one country is really happy about our report, then I know I've made a mistake. The difficulty is that since we're not powerful and rich, how do we get people to listen to our ideas. Also the hard thing is raising money. This is the only office ICG has in a developed country.
  E.V.: Crises take time to solve. What is it that keeps you motivated?
  Beck: Last night, the Ambassador to the EU had me to his house for dinner, so I gave him a copy of the report. The Dutch Ambassador came to my office because he wanted to talk about the report. We thought it was very useful and creative. So that's our hope readers being inspired by our report. I guess I decide for myself that I will do what I can. People try to find a meaningfuI job. I decided this was the best opportunity for me.
  E.V.: Do you have some words to say to Ewha students who would like to pursue a career in this field?
  Beck: As adults we face a choice whether to have or to be.There aren't many jobs that let you do both. So people have to make decisions on what they value, and how they are going to try to make the world a better place. How can we find a meaningful job? Well, I would encourage students to follow what their heart tells them to do and do what they feel most inspired about.

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