Devolin awarded the Order of Diplomatic Service Merit Medal
Haliburton-Kawartha Lakes-Brock MP and Co-Chair of the Canada-Korea Interparliamentary Friendship Group Barry Devolin, on the occasion of the 50th Anniversary of Korea-Canada Diplomatic Relations, is the first Canadian Parliamentarian to be awarded the Order of Diplomatic Service Merit Medal (Heung-in) by the Government of the Republic of Korea.
The presentation was made at the Korean Embassy in Ottawa last week by Ambassador Cho Hee-yong.
The Order of Diplomatic Service Merit Medal is awarded to a foreign public official for their significant contributions in strengthening friendly relations with the Republic of Korea.
This year, only three other people will be presented with the Heung-in Medal; Senator Joe Lieberman from the United States and one person from Germany and the other from Saudi Arabia.
“I am truly honoured and surprised to have received this honour. I can’t begin to thank all those who put my name forward as a possible candidate,” said Devolin.
“Many of my friends and family know the special fondness that Ursula and I share of Koreans. In 1996, we quit our jobs and left for Busan to teach English for a year and a half. We had many memorable experiences, had some fun and made some great friends.
“Since that time, especially since being elected to Parliament in 2004, I’ve had the opportunity to return to Korea a half dozen times and in some ways, consider Korea a second home,” said Devolin.
“As I look back over the years, I really appreciate the opportunity I’ve had to participate, first as a teacher and now as a public official, in the special relationship that Korea and Canada enjoy.”
During his time as an MP, Devolin contributed to promoting exchanges between Korea and Canada by co-chairing the Canada Korea Interparliamentary Friendship Group; helped to grow the involvement of the Korean population within Canada as the ‘Government Liaison with the Korean Community’; raised awareness of issues involving the Korean peninsula within Canada’s Parliament; contributed tremendously to the enhancement of Canada and Korea’s special partnership with his continued support which began from his teaching experience in Southern Korea.
Coincidentally, in the past 10 years, Terry Wickens of Lindsay was the only other Canadian to have been awarded the Order of Diplomatic Service Merit Medal.
The Order of Diplomatic Service Merit Medal is divided into five grades, often called Class 1-to-5. The badge is attached to a pink ribbon with brown stripes according to a grade. Each grade of medal is named after one of the traditional big gates of Seoul in Chosun Dynasty.
Copyright 2010 Lakefield Herald Ltd.
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