For more than 15 years, John Park has overseen the RCI Group of Companies, a privately held Vancouver financial services firm. Fluent in Korean, John Park regularly engages in business outside of Canada with nations that include Korea. In recognition of the Asian country’s importance, he established the Canada Korea Foundation.
On Feb. 21, 2011, people from Canada and Korea celebrated the birth of the Canada Korea Foundation. Prime Minister Stephen Harper appeared at the introductory dinner, which also featured Canadian and Korean veterans of the Korean War; Korean-Canadian civic leaders; and Senator Yonah Kim-Martin, Canada’s first parliamentarian with Korean ancestry. At the event, Harper praised the business and diplomatic relations between the two nations and commented on how this new organization would continue enhancing their affiliations.
The meeting highlighted many reasons for the partnership. Two-way merchandise trade between Canada and South Korea reached $9.5 billion in 2009, and Koreans have become one of the nation’s quickest-growing communities, with influence in all sectors. The Canada Korea Foundation plans to expand on those successes by bolstering bilateral trade, creating free-trade agreements, increasing the amount of Korean students who study in Canada, and promoting alternative energy strategies.