During my time as Ambassador to Korea, I had the privilege of being introduced to the Republic of Korea, a dynamic economy and complex society. The exploration of the history of relations between Korea and Ireland turned out to be quite compelling: themes of empire, war and faith (both spiritual and secular) over-lapped and intersected.
Accredited to the DPRK, I had the opportunity of visiting Pyongyang and taking field trips to see the work of Irish NGO Concern and UN agencies, particularly the WFP. Over the years of my posting (2009-13) I issued a series of Ambassador’s Messages to the Irish community in Korea and friends and contacts, including Koreans interested in the Irish relationship with Korea and things Irish generally. Many of these messages were of only contemporary interest such as assessments of the Irish economy or contingency planning during an emergency. Some others though may have more enduring interest, including such topics as the Irish peace process, the first Irishmen in Korea, the Irish Columban mission to Korea, North-South lesson sharing with Korean officials and Irish involvement in the Korean War. I’ll be posting them over the coming period and then intend to post new material from my next posting to Israel.
I have been asked on a number of occasions what an Ambassador does every day. I answer by saying it’s what you plan to achieve over the course of your posting that determines your day; what you do every day comprises steps toward that end.
There is of course no typical posting; each is shaped by location, interests, policy and events. Taken together, then, the messages here give can only give an overall sense of one four year stint by an Irish diplomat in Korea.