Fw: Dr. Biden Pool Report #3

From: Sarah Kim [mailto:xxx@email.com]
Sent: Saturday, July 18, 2015 09:49 PM
To: Suber, Kellen C. EOP; Gleeson, James M. EOP; Spector, Stephen I. EOP; xxx@email.com
Cc: Sarah Kim
Subject: Dr. Biden Pool Report #3

Dr. Biden Pool Report #3

Dr. Jill Biden met with the a delegation of Korean officials headed by the Republic of Korea's Minister of Gender Equality and Family (MOGEF) Kim Hee-Jun, at a meeting room at the Dongdaemun Design Plaza (DDP) in downtown Seoul at 6:30 p.m.

The U.S. delegation also included Catherine Russell, U.S. Ambassador-at-Large for Global Women's Issues; Scot Marciel, Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of State, Bureau of East Asian and Pacific Affairs; Christie Vilsack, Senior Advisor for International Education, USAID; notetaker Sheila Nix, Deputy Assistant to the President of the Chief of Staff to Dr. Biden; and interpreter Dr. Yun-hyang Lee.

The Korean delegation also included Lee Ki-soon, Director General of the Women’s Policy Bureau, MOGEF; Choi Yong-shik, Director of the International Cooperation Division of the MOGEF; and Hong Jee-pio, Director of the North America Division 1 of the ROK Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Minister Kim thanked Dr. Biden for leading a strong delegation and asked her about her flight.

“This is my first time in Korea,” Dr. Biden said. She recounted her visit to the Jinkwansa Temple and emphasized that her trip highlights a message of women empowerment.

Pool reporters exited afterward from the meeting room.

After the meeting, Dr. Biden and Ambassador Russell delivered remarks at a reception hosted by Korea's Ministry of Gender Equality and Family at the ongoing “Esprit Dior” exhibition also at the DDP.

The reception was attended by female leaders of Korean society, in culture, economy, politics and the military.

Ambassador Russell said in her opening remarks, “Over the years, Dr. Biden and I had the incredible opportunity to travel to many countries. As you can imagine, each country is at a different point on its path to development and growth in gender equality. But despite their differences, all countries have a striking similarity. In no country are women and girls afforded the same opportunities as men and boys.”

She added that when women and girls do better, businesses, communities, and the economy does better. “So advancing gender equality is critically important to everyone and is also a goal well within our reach.”

She added that the U.S. looks to support women in countries around the world in several critical areas, such as preventing gender-based violence, breaking barriers for women in society and investing in girls and women for the future “so that when they grow up they will have the same opportunities as their brothers.”

Gender Equality Minister Kim in her remarks welcomed Dr. Biden, who she called a powerful, influential and inspiring person who manages “a wonderful balance of work and family.”

The minister added, “Everyone in the world is interested in what engine will take us to the next stage. And the answer always comes back to us, to the human race. I believe the greatest latent potential lies in the women. Dr. Biden and I have agreed on this, and we have huge common interest on making a better future for women.”

She said that developing the latent potential of the women is the answer to developing the human race.

Minister Kim said that until the recent past, Korea was too busy and focused on catching up on women’s issues. But now, Korea has elected a female president and through the development of the country can talk about partnership, friendship and cooperation on women’s issues with the United States.

Dr. Biden then greeted the room in Korean with “Annyeonghaseyo (hello).” She continued that she was a teacher, and encouraged everyone at the reception to come up, and the group drew nearer. “See doesn’t that feel so much better? So much closer to all of you,” she said, drawing laughter from the crowd.

She went on to highlight the importance of opening doors to business opportunities and leadership roles for women, and making sure women’s voices are heard in the political process.

“President Obama, First Lady Michelle Obama and my husband the Vice President have worked to empower women in the workforce and to shape every level of our government so that their voices are heard throughout society and all around the world,” she said. “To see those same efforts made in the ROK shows how far we’ve come, not just as women in individual nations but as a global community of men and women to gain full gender equality.”

“I believe education is the foundation to a better world,” she said, coming from first hand experience.

She plans to guest teach an English language workshop in Vietnam and meet with participants for the young Southeast Asian leaders’ Initiative. Laos, she will meet with youths contributing to growth of their country.

She recognized that young women in Korea excel in terms of education achievements but continue to face many challenges in the workplace and added the United States is committed to making sure and young women around the world have tools that will help them succeed.

Afterward, Dr. Biden toured the “Esprit Dior” exhibition, with explanations from exhibition representatives.

The Dior exhibition is a collaboration of the French fashion house with six Korean artists. This includes a recreation in fabric by Korean artist Do Ho Suh of Christian Dior’s townhouse at 30 Avenue Montaigne in Paris.

Sarah Kim, Korea JoongAng Daily

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