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At a glance: Korea, Republic of

Korean Committee for UNICEF mourns death of Goodwill Ambassador Park Wan-suh

© UNICEF Republic of Korea/2005
In Banda Aceh, Indonesia, the late UNICEF Republic of Korea Goodwill Ambassador Park Wan-suh poses with children displaced by the 2004 tsunami.

SEOUL, Republic of Korea, 28 January 2011 – In the early morning hours of 22 January, the Korean Committee for UNICEF (KCU) sadly lost its beloved Goodwill Ambassador Park Wan-suh to gall bladder cancer. She was 80.

Park Wan-suh, a well-known Korean novelist, had been fighting the disease since undergoing surgery in October of last year. Influencing modern Korean literature with her affecting tales, she often portrayed the altered and bumpy existences of ordinary families dealing with the harsh realities of a post-war Korea.

Among her best-selling books, ‘Who Ate Up All the Shinga?’ and ‘Mom’s Stake’ have been translated into nine languages, including English, French, Spanish and Japanese.

A loving heart

Since she became a Goodwill Ambassador in 1993, she has been an outspoken campaigner for the world’s children, travelling to remote areas of Ethiopia, Somalia and Mongolia, and to Banda-Aceh, Indonesia after the tsunami of 2004. Her numerous writings about children in dire situations, stirred social consciousness and were instrumental in alerting people to their plight.

“I remember when we visited camps for the displaced people in Ethiopia and Somalia,” said KCU Executive Director Park Dong-eun. “After she witnessed children dying of malnutrition, she could hardly take her meals and fed the children herself with milk porridge. I saw the image of Audrey Hepburn” – another late, beloved UNICEF ambassador – “in her smile and tears, and most of all, her love for children.”

UNICEF commemorates Park Wan-suh, a woman with the most loving heart, who dedicated herself to helping children by portraying so touchingly the lives of children in need of love and care.



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