With the help of an interpreter, Delaware County Council discussed government business – from the county parks system to the democratic election process – with two professionals from South Korea who are visiting the county through a Rotary Club exchange program.
Marc Manfre, Delaware County director of Parks and Recreation, talked about the county’s park system with his South Korean counterpart, Nam Hyung Woo, also called David, who is in charge of parks and the “developed forest culture” in the NamYangJu province near Seoul.
Nam Hyung Woo visited the Delaware County Government Center with Dong-Yeol Kye, a Rotarian from South Korea who worked as a public official in Yongin City from 1974-2003.
They are part of a team of five South Koreans who are in the United Sates for four weeks to promote international peace and understanding. The Rotary program is called Group Study Exchange, which has been conducting cultural and vocational exchange visits for 50 years.
The group was brought to the government center by Rotarians Sue Mardinly, past president and international chair for the Rotary Club of Concordville-Chadds Ford and one of the hosts, and Gil Tupper, past president and host for Kye. They had made arrangements with County Councilwoman Colleen Morrone of Concord. The Korean men met with Council Chairman Tom McGarrigle, Councilman Dave White and Executive Director Marianne Grace. They toured the Government Center and Courthouse and then had an all-American lunch at the Towne House Restaurant.
On Election Day, the guests went to a polling place at Garnet Valley High School to observe the voting process.
They said their presidential election is Dec. 19 and the process is “very similar,” but they vote with paper ballots.
Kye told County Council he was impressed with how polite Americans are, particularly while caught in traffic on the roadways and when waiting in line to vote.
When asked by Chairman McGarrigle about the South Korean economy, he said, “If the United States economy coughs, the Korean economy gets sick.”
Both men spoke with the assistance of Neumann University student MJ Hong of Haverford, who volunteered his time to act as an interpreter.
The Koreans also visited the Brandywine River Museum, Lancaster County and the Rocky Run YMCA, and attended the Rotary District Conference for the Southeastern Pennsylvania region.
Kye presented McGarrigle with a Rotary International flag and he gave his Council hosts lapel pins bearing the Korean and American flags with the Rotary logo.