Good News Corps’ Dramatic Meeting with the President of Chile who Attended the Nuclear Security Summ
(The President of Chile, Sebastian Pinera and the First Lady with the Good News Corps Members)
Last March, on 26th and 27th, the Nuclear Security Summit was held in Seoul with the leaders of 53 nations and international organizations. We heard the news that the magistrate of the commune, “Estacion Central,” whom we met through a cultural event in Chile, was coming to Korea to attend the Summit. By chance, we read in an article where the government officials from Chile were staying, we headed to the hotel with the pounding heart to see Chilean people, our family in heart, in Korea. Even if we could not see them, we waited without any plan, hoping at least to present a bouquet of flowers which we put our hearts in. All of sudden, a person with a nametag with the Chilean flag on passed by. We ran toward him and greeted him in Spanish. He was surprised, and we started a conversation. “We have gone to Chile to volunteer for a year, and we came here because we still miss Chile.” We introduced ourselves. Later we found out that he was the chief officer of the security. As he conversed with us, he was delighted to see our love toward Chile. He told us to wait a little bit for the magistrate we hoped to see because he was on his way.
After a while, the magistrate walked into the hotel with the magistrates from other divisions. We gave him the flower bouquet and greeted him cordially. The magistrate, who knew us well from Chile, introduced us to the others himself, and the other magistrates, surprised, gladly replied to us. We spent good time together sharing our experiences from Chile and the cultures; when we told them that Chile was our second hometown, they were touched.
The magistrate told us that he would help us with Chile World Camp with all his might and that he hoped to see all the members again at the camp. Also he mentioned that he could meet the president if we come back the next day. As he was leaving, he also thanked us for the visit.
(The magistrate of commune, Estacion Central, and the Good News Corps members)
Back home, the members prepared some small gift for the magistrate in hope that he would remember us even when he went back to Chile – a picture frame with the photo of the magistrate with the members. In addition, we made a scrapbook of our activities in Chile, as a present to the President, to show how much we loved Chile.
Next day, we, the GNC members, headed back to the hotel. Not long after we arrived, we met the magistrates again. They were really glad to see us. With much longer time available, we were able to talk about ourselves more, and the magistrates introduced us to other government officials of Chile one by one. About 60 officials came to Korea on the presidential plane, and we met 20 of them and had time to introduce ourselves.
They were all happy to talk to us. Each GNC member conversed with different officials. As we talked to Juan Carlos Mora Rodriguez, the leader of labor union at Huachipato, an iron-manufacturing factory, we mentioned that we hoped to meet the President. He said it would be difficult, then all of sudden he waved us to come quickly. He introduced us to one person, the 32th President of Chile, Eduardo Frei Ruiz-Tgle.
We were very surprised to unexpectedly meet the former President. Then we told him about IYF and what we did in Chile. The former President was proud of us and even took picture with us.
(With the 32th President of Chile, Eduardo Frei Ruiz-Tgle)
After meeting with many government officials of Chile, we were waiting for the magistrate to give him the gift we made. Meanwhile we met the magistrate from the commune, Pueblo. The magistrate was very interested in us – he even reminded us several times to stop by Pueblo. He opened his heart very much. While we were talking with the magistrate, the President and the First Lady of Chile entered in through the VIP hallway near where we were standing. The magistrate approached the President and started to introduce us to him.
We were very surprised yet honored. When they saw the banner we prepared, the President and the First Lady came to us with a big smile on. Especially the First Lady greeted us with an amiable look. Seeing the President and the First Lady coming toward us, the body guards removed the barricade. Even before we introduced ourselves, the President invited us to come see him in Chile. Then we presented him the gift, saying, “We are the Chile Good News Corps volunteers. We can never forget the love we received in Chile. It is a great honor to meet you in Korea. We’d like to invite you to the Chile World Camp in September.” The President and the First Lady were surprised to see Korean college students speaking in Spanish. They gave each one of us a hug and greeted us in Chilean way (in Chile, people greet with their cheeks). For about 10 minutes, we had a conversation with the President and promised to meet again.
(With the magistrate of Pueblo who helped us meeting the President) 20 minutes later, the magistrate of Estacion Central came to see us briefly regardless of his busy schedule. We handed him the picture frame we prepared, and he liked it so much saying that he would have it on the desk in his office back in Chile. Though he came downstairs with a very tired look, we got his bright smile back when he saw the present we prepared. Then he gave us a monthly magazine from his commune and said that he will have news about us with our picture in the next month magazine. Once again, he promised that he will help with the Chile World Camp with all his might.
(With the picture frame and the monthly magazine from the magistrate of Estacion Central)
Everyone from Chile all departed early in the morning on the 28th. Though it was a short 2-day meeting, it became another unforgettable memory for all of us. Inside the hotel lobby, though the atmosphere was heavy with the leaders of each nations for the Summit, filled with our laughter, and at least for that moment, we all felt warmth in our hearts.
We used to be one of the ordinary college students, yet through Good News Corps, we came to know Chile. And the loving heart toward Chile became a channel to meet the President and the government officials. The happiness overflows in each one of our hearts. We anticipate so much for the first Chile World Camp in September, and we’d like to invite all of you reading this news!