Korean adoptee promotes investment in Busan zoneA Korean-born adoptee who returned to the country now has the job of promoting foreign investment in free trade areas in Busan and Jinhae.
Jodi Kiely, a 27-year-old American, is an investment promotion officer at the Busan and Jinhae Free Economic Zone Authority.
“I was told there was going to be a lot of work ahead and I should be prepared,” Ms. Kiely said. “I am glad to work for the country that gave birth to me.”
Ms. Kiely said the agency aimed to attract $300 million in foreign investment this year, and was already in talks with various groups on drafting contracts for more than 10 major projects in the first half of the year.
Ms. Kiely is responsible for doing English presentations and preparing English newsletters for domestic and overseas investors. She also consults with foreign investors who come to Korea.
Ms. Kiely began working for the agency in August. Previously, she worked for the Korea Institute of Public Finance and followed her boss at the institute, former director Chang Soo-man, who is the first commissioner of the Busan and Jinhae Free Economic Zone Authority.
In the past, Ms. Kiely worked as an English teacher at a high school in Kyrgyzstan as a member of the Peace Corps. Because of her proficiency in English as well as Kyrgyzstan, Russian and Spanish, Ms. Kiely contributes a lot to the agency.
“Foreign investors are more concerned about labor issues than anything else,” Ms. Kiely said. They ask if it is okay to invest in Korea despite prevalent strikes. “Labor unrest needs to be reduced,” she added.
She was adopted by a doctor and his family in the United States eight months after her birth, and studied journalism at the University of St. Thomas.
Asked whether she wants to find her biological parents, Ms. Kiely said she hoped that her biological parents would not be sorry they gave her up for adoption.
Because of that situation, she was able to progress this far and work for her mother country, Ms. Kiely said.
She said she did not plan to search for her parents, but she would be very happy to meet them.
by Kim Sang-jin