Project Bridge was established in 1993 after the Los Angeles Riots (SAIGU) took place by the Los Angeles based Pacific Century Institute in conjunction with New York based the Korea Society. The cross-cultural program selects 16 students (eight from Los Angeles and eight from New York) each year to participate as Youth Ambassadors.
Throughout the year-long academic year, Los Angeles and New York students attend different bi-weekly workshops focusing on topics such as: building and strengthening leadership skills though presentation and public speaking; education on intercultural understanding on race, ethnicity, nationality, and culture; education on Korea and its culture, history, language, economy, and policy; and the 1992 LA Riots, which deeply affected the area’s Korean American community.
The highlight of Project Bridge is a fully subsidized ten-day study tour in South Korea. During the study tour, Youth Ambassadors are able to interact with local high school students, Korean government and business officials; develop international etiquette; and fully immerse in the Korean culture and customs. Project Bridge culminates in a final presentation/graduation upon returning from the study tour. Youth Ambassadors graduate from the program as more mindful youth leaders as they become promoters of individual and societal change. The goal of Project Bridge is to instill a sense of understanding and respect to “bridge” the gap between cultures through simultaneous and teachings of cultural awareness and leadership skills.
In commemoration of Sa-I-Gu, more widely known as the 1992 Los Angeles Riots, Los Angeles, New York and Montana based students were treated to an informal 90-minute ZOOM seminar on Korean-Americanism. The presenter was Professor Edward Park, the distinguished chair of the Dept. of Asian and Asian-American Studies at Loyola Marymount University here in Los Angeles. Explained PCI co-founder Spencer Kim: “PCI vice president and Asia Media International Founder Tom Plate, an LMU professor, has been actively supporting the Project Bridge program over the years, meeting and inviting the Youth Ambassadors to various classes. As yesterday was the 28th anniversary of the 1992 Los Angeles riots, Tom reached out to a fellow LMU professor for a virtual class using Zoom. I highly recommend this presentation by Dr Park.”
This is a video of the presentation: