VANK (Voluntary Agency Network of Korea) is a cyber diplomacy organization of 120,000 Korean and international members united under the purpose of properly introducing Korea to the world and promoting cultural exchange through international friendships.
VANK was founded in 1999 when one young man began exchanging emails with a pen pal and became shocked to find that his international friends either knew very little about Korea or possessed incorrect information about Korea. This one young man, the founder, began to imagine a future where Koreans could establish sincere relationships with international friends from all over the world. Through these relationships, the global community could gain a holistic and accurate understanding of Korea.
The numerous members of VANK have taken upon roles as cyber diplomats in order to share Korea with the world and rectify international misrepresentations of Korea. VANK cyber diplomats hope to improve the image of Korea in the global society while simultaneously gaining a better understanding of their country and the countries of their international friends. When provided with the right opportunities through VANK, people of all ages and backgrounds are able to act as diplomats of Korea. VANK members are encouraged to realize their personal dreams in the context of their identities as Korean citizens and members of the global community.
Young Koreans become cyber diplomats: VANK has developed and implemented an education program for cyber diplomats. Many young Koreans dream of becoming diplomats. This program teaches them how to interact with foreigners and act as citizen diplomats.
Young Koreans become global PR ambassadors: VANK has developed and implemented an education program for global PR ambassadors. An increasing number of Koreans go abroad for study, travel, or volunteer activities. This program fosters their ability to properly represent and promote Korea to foreigners.
Young Koreans become world changers: VANK has developed and implemented an educational program for future world changers. We hope that young Koreans can contribute to solving global issues, such as poverty and environmental issues. This program develops their ability to make a difference in the world.
These program have been adopted by over 500 student clubs in elementary, middle and high schools nationwide. Some universities grant academic credit for VANK activities. To support their activities, VANK has produced over 100 kinds of promotional materials about Korean history, culture, and tourism. Over a million copies have been sent to more than 150 countries.
Our vision is for Korea to develop into the hub of Asia, the gateway to Northeast Asia, and a loved country that shares friendships and dreams with people for all over the world. Our mission is to help youth improve Korea’s national prestige, play a role in making the world a better place, and realize their own dreams through these efforts.