South Korean President and UH leaders pay tribute to “patriotic women” and Korean immigrants

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South Korean President Moon presents the award to Karen Sun Sook Ahn, granddaughter of Chung Song Lee Ahn.

South Korean President Moon Jae-in and the University of Hawaii leaders paid tribute to two Hawaii women who immigrated from Korea as revered “patriotic women” in a ceremony on the steps of EUH Mānoa Korean Studies Center on September 22.

person reading a proclamation to another person
South Korean President Moon presents the award to Winifred Lee Namba, daughter of Nodie Kimhaekim Sohn.

The award, presented posthumously to Chung Song Lee Ahn (1895-1989) and Nodie Kimhaekim Sohn, better known as Nodie Kim (1898-1972), recognizes their pioneering efforts in the Korean independence movement after their arrival in Hawaii In the early 1900s. Their relatives attended the ceremony to receive the award.

The names of Ahn, Nodie Kim and other Korean immigrants to Hawaii who argued for Korean independence were uncovered through extensive research as part of a Korean Studies Center project titled “Korean Immigration History and Diaspora Studies”. The research has resulted in numerous awards to women in Hawaii like Ahn and Nodie Kim in recent years.

“I am so happy to see the hidden patriot women being recognized by President Moon,” said Tae-ung Baik, director of the Korean Studies Center and professor of law. “This award from the Order of Merit is the result of a year of efforts by researchers, in particular Duk Hee Lee Murabayashi at the Korean Studies Center. President Moon’s visit is the second visit by a South Korean president to the Center since 1981, which clearly attests to the excellence of the research carried out here.

people gathered around two people shaking hands
EUH President David Lassner shakes hands with South Korean President Moon Jae-in.

The Korean Studies Center EUH Mānoa is the largest Korean studies research institution in all of the Americas, with more than 40 Korean studies professors and experts conducting academic research and education.

The ceremony was limited to around 30 people due to COVID-19 restrictions. EUH President David lassner, EUH Marshal of Manoa Michel Bruno, EUH Dean of the College of Arts, Languages ​​and Letters of Manoa Pierre Arnade were part of EUH officials who attended and greeted President Moon upon his arrival.

Learn more about the winners

Born in Pyongyang, North Korea, Ahn graduated from Ewha Hakdang School in 1913 and from Japan Women’s Seminary in Yokohama in 1918, before teaching at Pyongyang Women’s Seminary. She arrived in Honolulu in January 1919 and has been active in most Korean state organizations, including as a representative of the United Welfare Fund Drive, chairman of the Y women, President of the Korean Women’s Relief Society, President of Women Kuk Min Hur (Korean National Association) and President of the Ewha Women’s University Alumnae Association of Hawaii. Ahn was also a member of the Korean Chamber of Commerce, the Methodist Church’s Women’s Service Group, Hawaii Patriotic Women’s Society Korea Independence Party Chapter, Pan-Pacific and Southeast Asian Women’s Association, Post-War Women’s Relief Organization.

Nodie Kim grew up in Hawaii after arriving in the islands in 1905 with his parents. After graduating from Oberlin College in Ohio in 1918, she became director of the Korean Christian Institute, to which she devoted much of her time until 1945. She was active in religious organizations and community organizations, as President of Korean Ladies Relief. Company, Manager and Liaison Officer of Dongji Hoi, Administrator and Treasurer of Korean Missions in Honolulu, Administrator of Korean Christian Church and Director of Korean Men’s Home. In 1952, Nodie Kim traveled to Korea to be appointed Director of the Republic of Korea Procurement Office and also became Vice President of the Korean Red Cross.

Learn more about the Korean Studies Center

Established in 1972, the Korean Studies Center seeks to promote interdisciplinary and intercultural approaches to Korean studies by drawing on its professors in more than a dozen different disciplines, ranging from anthropology to education and science. urban and regional planning.

This work is an example of EUH Mānoa’s research excellence goal: to advance the research and creative work enterprise (PDF), one of the four objectives identified in the 2015-25 Strategic Plan (PDF), updated in December 2020.


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