Notes From the Field: Solomon Bang '19

Solomon Bang '19 interned at the Ajou Institute of Unification (AIU) during the 2018 Summer Term. The following is an excerpt from his internship report.

The Ajou Institute of Unification (AIU) is a think-tank based in Suwon, South Korea studying policies regarding North Korean development cooperation, Korean bilateral trade, and Korean reunification. As a member of the six institutions elected by the Ministry of Unification for DPRK education and research, AIU’s research specializes in closing the economic disparity between the two Koreas in order to prepare the peninsula for prospective unification.

As an intern, I played a pivotal role in organizing the 1st Ajou Korean Peninsula International Conference. The conference featured distinguished guests such as the Senior Director of the Fragility, Conflict, Violence Group of the World Bank, Deputy Executive of UN ESCAP, President of Korea International Cooperation Agency, and many more. For the welcome ceremony, I drafted speeches for the president of Ajou University, the president of Pyongyang University of Science and Technology, and the Director of UniKorea Foundation. I also created the main conference presentations that were displayed throughout the entire conference. Finally, I was in charge of all translation work, including drafting the 8-hour transcript of the conference in both Korean and English.

After the conference, I conducted my own research project on North Korean environmental policy. The report detailed the history of DPRK’s environmental policy, the philosophy of its environmental law, and comparisons of their policies to those of South Korea.

With North Korea at the center of today’s geopolitical discourse, the office was an exciting place to be from day one. As we prepared for the internatioanl conference, it was both humbling and enlightening to be around international policy experts. I learned about the process of reaching international consensus and what it takes to bring experts to the table to discuss sensitive issues such as DPRK. The discourse and expertise at the conference also gave me insight into what a career in international relations looks like. Such valuable exposure to the process of international policy making gave me greater confidence about my desired career in global affairs.

I am incredibly grateful to the Rockefeller Center, and, especially, the Class of 1954 for supporting my internship. This incredible experience would not have been possible without their help.

The Rockefeller Internships Program has funding for Dartmouth undergraduate students to help defray the cost of living expenses associated with a full-time, unpaid, leave-term internships in the fields of public policy, public affairs, and social entrepreneurship.