The Words of the Pak Family
Question: Please describe the Project to Support Vision 2020 and the role that the Foundation has in that.
As you know, on March 24, I was chosen as the chair of the Tongil Foundation through a board meeting. On the morning of the twenty-fifth, I met True Mother for the first time after my inauguration and the first thing Mother spoke about was the role of the Tongil Foundation. She said that the role of the foundation is projected fully through the formal name of the organization, the Foundation to Support HSA-UWC [hereafter, the foundation or the Tongil Foundation]. She said that the foundation was in the position of the body and the church in the position of the mind. Just as the body and mind have to unite and harmonize to become an individual truth body, the Tongil Foundation and all of the churches have to unite and harmonize well in order to bring victory in Vision 2020. This was True Mother's first instruction or command. True Mother made a second point that the foundation had gotten large. She expressed a desire that the Foundation be slimmed down a little. Her third instruction was for me to develop a relationship of the heart with the church and to strengthen it.
Question: Please tell us something of your background.
After the army discharged me in 1969, I worked at first with Tongil Industries. Soon, the Little Angel had reached a level where they needed a strong foundation in Korea that could properly educate and train the Little Angels as they started their worldwide activities in earnest. Father had started the Little Angels in 1962 and they began performing in 1965, four years before I arrived. We founded the Korean Cultural Foundation as the mother organization, which became central in conducting programs to educate and train the Little Angels. From then on, I took charge of the executive responsibilities of the Korean Cultural Foundation. While Dr. Bo Hi Pak was in charge of organizing the tours in the United States, I was in charge of the Little Angels' education and training in Korea. I have spent more than half my life with not only the Little Angels dance troupe but also the schools affiliated to it as an expansion of our activities.
As the Little Angels' programs expanded in scale, we realized that a school would be instrumental in anchoring those programs. With the cooperation of President Park Chung-hee, we started the school project in 1973; the school opened later. From that time, we founded and several schools including a high school. I was in charge of the executive administrative management of both the Little Angels and the schools until 1992.
From 1992 to 1996, I oversaw the master plan, which I had a part in developing and the planning of the construction projects at Sun Moon University's Cheonan campus. Father had appointed me. The basic framework, which Father closely directed then, is what is being constructed today at Sun Moon University.
In 1996, I went to Nicaragua through the national messiah program. I worked there until 2000, which was around five years as an overseas missionary. I returned to Korea in 2000 and worked as a church minister. Then I went back to the Universal Ballet Company and conducted cultural projects until I came here.
When news spread in Korea and elsewhere that I had been appointed Tongil Foundation chairman, our media people searched the internet for news of me but the only substantial item they found was that I am Dr. Bo Hi Pak's younger brother. Whenever I am introduced, that description always follows me.
Mr. Pak visiting the recently opened purpose-built Ilhwa factory
Question: With your experience in Nicaragua, a poor country with a church that lacked man- power, you probably saw how much foreign churches could benefit from support.
When I went to Nicaragua for the first time, not only was it my first visit but I wasn't familiar with Nicaragua. I hadn't studied its history. The poverty was the first thing I noticed. It was like seeing Korea in the 1960s, just after the Korean War. Seeing Nicaraguan streets gave me the same impression. The people were so poor and the church had no foundation whatsoever.
I couldn't do much on a personal level in the beginning. Later, Father dispatched 120 Japanese missionaries to each South American country. They arrived in Nicaragua in December and they especially concentrated on their activities in Nicaragua for a year. Our church there got financial donations from them and support from Father. Thanks to that, Nicaragua finally had the basis to carry out normal church activities. The church in South America could establish a huge foundation thanks to True Parent's support and the dispatched missionaries. I was indeed grateful.
One heart-moving incident I still remember from 1997, when Father was strongly conducting the blessing campaign around the world, was a Blessing Ceremony we held in Managua, the capital, at the Olof Palme Convention Center, which can hold around two thousand people. The campaign was done with the Japanese missionaries help. Around two thousand Nicaraguan couples participated, dressed in white, though not all of them had become members.
My wife and I wore our holy robes. I remember how we sincerely represented True Parents on that day and conducted the Blessing Ceremony in the traditional way. The photographs taken that day still move my heart. I cannot forget the overwhelming emotions I felt while representing True Parents and conducting the Blessing Ceremony. All this happened thanks to the 120 missionaries.
Question: We understand missionaries now are not to be utilized for financial support but as manpower and that the foundation will be providing financial assistance to the mission nations.
By foundation, do you mean the Tongil Foundation?
Two Tongil Group companies, Yong Pyong Resorts and Ilhwa Corporation, provided financial support to Sun Moon University on lime 6, 2013.
We do have 194 mission bases in the world but Mother particularly chose forty-three strategic and providential nations and is emphasizing intensive support and activities in those nations. Though it is still in the planning phase, the Tongil Foundation, which as you know has several subsidiaries, is preparing to connect the subsidiaries with the providential and strategic nations through sisterhood matching. Based on this sisterhood relationship, we are preparing programs where employees can visit the nation connected to their subsidiary or send support to the nation. The foundation will do everything it can within its scope for the victory of Vision 2020.
Question: Is there a plan when these employees go to a country to study the external situation of the country?
Since we are not yet on that level and are not yet ready, it is premature to speak of a clear plan in that particular area.
We are planning to help the missions to the best of our ability. The Tongil Foundation cannot support the missions directly, but follows the basic route of funding FFWPU and the FFWPU International Headquarters, which will then support the missions worldwide.
Alongside the funding, we are planning to carry extra activities through which our employees can visit the nations and have exchange programs. Recently, employees at the Foundation made special donations amounting to around US$100,000. True Mother then gave special directions that the collected donations be presented to the African continental director to be used for missions in Africa. We have presented it to Africa in accordance with True Mother's instructions. The foundation is planning to fund missions as soon as we have the funds, in accordance with Mother's intent and in accordance with church regulations. Realistically speaking, the foundation does not have huge amounts that can support the missions. The scale of our support is actually small, which is one of my concerns.
Question: Does your engineering background give you a perspective or skill set that will help you as chairman?
Even though I majored in Mechanical Engineering at Seoul National University, I didn't have the opportunity to actually practice what I had studied in the field. When I look back on my life, I didn't have many opportunities to apply my engineering skill set. I believe my point of view is a normal one. As the Tongil Foundation chairman, I do not think I will manage the foundation based on engineering know-how, because I haven't used it much.
Mr. Pak touring a subsidiary company managed by the Tongil Foundation
Question: That the father nation now is stronger and will be able to help other nations is inspirational.
The Tongil Foundation went through many difficulties in the 1980s and 1990s and was hit hard, especially during the Asian Financial Crisis, which began in 1997. Many of the entities Father had established collapsed during this period. This was indeed a sad time in our history. Fortunately, Kook Jin nim came and was able to put an end to all those problems as Tongil Foundation chairman. Though the Tongil Foundation has become smaller than in the past, Kook Jin nim was able to bring solidity and stability. In the past, it is true that the Tongil Foundation was heavily dependent on Japan and continued to have such an attitude. However, Kook Jin nim was of the opinion that the Tongil Foundation must not rely on Japan at all cost but become healthier and pioneer the providence by itself. Simply put, he changed the Tongil Foundation's mind-set. From this perspective, it has become quite healthy. The Tongil Foundation is no longer dependent. We have become independent and are trying to find ways to support the providence by ourselves.
Centered on our church, True Mother has given us the Vision 2020 Project as our responsibility and vision. For the next seven years until 2020, the church needs to affect noticeable results and set up a solid foundation that Korea and the world can acknowledge. In other words, we need to elevate our foundation to a level where people can acknowledge Father's achievements and vision. This is Vision 2020. Therefore, all members united under this goal and churches have reorganized. We are now in the beginning phase. Let us all advance toward this vision with all our might.
For this reason, True Mother told me to establish a body -- mind relationship between the Tongil Foundation and the church. Based on that, I wondered what stance, position or direction the Tongil Foundation must take for Vision 2020. In order to pursue Vision 2020, a direction has to be set first. Therefore, I gave the name the "Vision 2020 Support Project" to Tongil Foundation programs related to Vision 2020. We refer to it as VSP 2020. In other words, if the church calls it Vision 2020, the Tongil Foundation calls our role in it VSP 2020. We have started this program. Though it is not novel, it is our way of setting a direction. Having done that, we want all our employees to advance toward this with one heart.
The foundation is still at a level where it needs to organize or work out what VSP 2020 will do, but I have roughly three directions in mind. First, what the Tongil Foundation can do is provide human resources (HR) support for Vision 2020. We have about two thousand employees -- around 1,200 fulltime and the rest part-time. Kook Jin nim has already educated around 1,500 employees, a greater number than all fulltime employees, in the basic Divine Principle content through educational programs on the founder's worldview. The
Tongil Foundation is equipped with such human resources. Of course, only 20 percent of the employees are members. However, I realized the importance of bringing unity of heart among all employees, so that all our HR can move in one accord and in one direction with True Mother's 2020 program. Therefore, it is important to rally all our employees in the direction of participating, supporting or sympathizing with the heart behind Vision 2020.
As I said before, around 1,500 employees learned the Divine Principle, but they did it objectively, as their business founder's ideology. However, it is important to guide our employees to realize that Father's teachings were meant for them and to bring them to closely sympathize with Father from the heart through more intensified education. Through such a program, we will work on strengthening the bond of heart within the Tongil Foundation community toward a direction where they can follow True Parents not only as their founders but also as their parents. Through this, all our human resources can rally as a supporting force for Vision 2020. This is the first direction I would like to pursue in our VSP 2020.
Second, the Tongil Foundation is a business earning money and a productive organization. Therefore, if the foundation doesn't earn money, it cannot fulfill its function. It must earn money. However, the Foundation is planning to create many resources by conducting business activities to the fullest to fund Vision 2020. I call this material support.
I am thinking of two ways to do this. The first way is direct -- to create a high income to support the church and the second is to conduct campaigns within the foundation so that our employees can have a sense of kinship centered on the heart that may move them to make donations for Vision 2020.
To support Vision 2020, the Tongil Foundation also has to develop. The whole world is advancing and expanding in size, so our only maintaining the status quo is like going backward. Therefore, our businesses must develop alongside Vision
2020. Now every business in the foundation is submitting proposals on how they can develop in line with Vision 2020. If we look at Kook Jin nim's management style, his basic goal was stability; he reduced all risks, putting priority on stabilizing the Tongil Foundation. He avoided any endeavors that may bring deficits. Kook Jin nim was successful in reaching his goal of stability. On this stable base, the foundation now needs to set plans based on a development-oriented direction. I believe that the Tongil Foundation can truly help Vision 2020 if it creates a high income. I am presently conducting thorough discussions with our businesses for this reason.
The rough goal (though I cannot give you an exact number now) is to triple, by 2020, the present amount of benefits and income we are producing. Of course, we are not planning to pursue any overly risky endeavors or impractical investments, but we are trying to come up with programs that can bring about development opportunities without involving risk. Each of our businesses is researching methods to pursue this plan.
The third point, which also flows from what True Mother first instructed me about, is to establish and strengthen the bond of heart among the employees in the foundation. In accordance with Mother's instructions, I want to move the atmosphere within the foundation in a direction that can align or match the sympathy of our employees toward Vision 2020. I believe this is the role of the Tongil Foundation. In other words, the Foundation and church must work not as separate bodies but as one body through such sympathy. We are setting this kind of direction.
Question: Does this involve the forty-three nations as well?
Yes, of course. Once a sympathetic atmosphere is created, employees will easily join hands with the activities including the sisterhood program with the forty-three countries.
It has been only a bit over a month since I was inaugurated. Until now, I have been analyzing the state of the subsidiaries to understand where the Foundation stands. I am managing eighteen subsidiaries. I am touring all of them. Tomorrow I will be going to Jeju Island to visit the fifteenth company. The three others I can visit later. Once I have an overall picture of the businesses, I believe that detailed plans to conduct the different projects based on my analyses will start toward the end of May or in June.
As I said before, I am not a professional CEO. I do not have a completely business-oriented policy when it comes to setting up the fundamental values of the Tongil Foundation and the management direction, but I believe that what True Mother is expecting from me is not to just to earn money. True Mother hopes to build a united atmosphere in the Unificationist community by forming that harmonious body -- mind relationship, thereby achieving unity of hearts. That is why I am trying to see all this with not just a business-oriented mind. However, I know that leading the Tongil Foundation in a church direction alone cannot bring development. I am working with different experts and leaders within the business field to maximize profits at the same time. This is my present stance. Perhaps my engineering background will come in handy in analyzing the Foundation in detail from this perspective.
Question: You seem well placed.
Thank you. Tongil Segye interviewed me just before you arrived. They expressed hope that things will turn out fine because I have varied experiences as a minister and within different providential organizations. I was moved by what they said but I feel the enormity of the responsibility. I feel somewhat stressed out. [He laughs.]
Question: Your position entails much hard work.
On May 12, 13 and 14, I accompanied Mother on a tour of three major cities, Changwon, Busan and Yeosu. True Mother met many leaders and participated in many events including the opening of the new church in Changwon. She had a tight schedule. Wherever True Mother went, she met the members. She spoke often with leaders and other members. As I watched Mother, who is at the center of this providence and works hard to fulfill Father's grand vision within this set period despite her old age, I felt she is trying hard to bring solid results and this isn't just a vision. True Mother is taking responsibility and expressing great concern about it. Seeing Mother encouraging members in tears, I realized how important our roles are in this era. We don't have to be leaders, but we are people who followed True Father. I call this True Mother's era, and through this tour, I strongly recognized how important our roles are in True Mother's era.