A ‘friendship’ visit to KoreaMary Jean Eisenhower, the president of People To People International and the granddaughter of former U.S. president Dwight D. Eisenhower, visited Korea for the first time last week to promote her organization’s goals of peace and harmony among peoples.
People To People International is a non-profit organization that was established by the former president in 1956 to promote interaction among peoples of different countries.
Ms. Eisenhower began her life as a “peacemaker” in 1995, when she started working as a volunteer for the organization. She became its president last year.
During her three-day stay in Korea, Ms. Eisenhower visited Chuncheon, Gangwon province, and became an honorary citizen of the city.
Her family and the city have a special relationship, she said. “My grandfather first visited Chuncheon in December 1952. At that time, my father [John Eisenhower] was serving in the [U.S.] military there.”
He was stationed there for three years during the Korean War.
Ms. Eisenhower has her grandfather’s passion for seeking world peace, and one of the efforts was the People to People International Friendship Fund she established in 1999.
The fund has been used to aid people around the world through such varied projects as school construction in Sri Lanka, earthquake relief in India, disaster relief to victims of the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks in the United States, a library project in Vietnam and a “peace camp’ in Egypt.
The Korean chapter of the organization was established in Chuncheon in 1965, “based on the friendship between the Korean people and U.S. soldiers during the Korean War,” Ms. Eisenhower said.
by Choi Sun-young