She is one of the 1000 women proposed for the Nobel Peace Price 2005.
Sook-Im Kim began empowering women to make a difference in Korea in the late ’70s, in what she calls the “Dark Ages for women’s movements.” In the face of military dictatorship, a divided country, and an inflated national defense budget, women’s voices were silenced. Understanding that women’s welfare was at stake, Sook-Im pioneered the women’s peace movement by organizing the radical group, Korean Association of Christian Women, for whom she and her husband built a church and kindergarten. For 26 years, Sook-Im has modeled leadership in her quest for peace.
She says: “Female-oriented peaceful movements, measures, and mind have guided me into a vision for resolving the conflict in the Korean peninsula as a mediator of peace”.
Sook-Im Kim – South Korea
She works for the Peace and Reunification Committee of the Korea Women’s Association,
for the Unification and Peace in Korean Women’s United Association,
and for the Korea Campaign to Ban Landmines (named on Landmine Monitor).
The daughter of a wealthy businessman, Sook-Im Kim was always encouraged by her parents to become socially active. But a quiet reader and musician, Kim preferred to keep to herself. She enrolled in Seoul’s Women’s University to study literature, and there her life took a sharp turn. As a jazz pianist and dancer, her performance of a masque dance caught the attention of the military police. Believing it was a form of government resistance, they sent Kim to prison.
Ironically, it was at this point that her true resistance began.
She became very ill in prison and an operation on her spine ended her days of dancing. But a new kind of dance was born. Upon her release from prison, she became an activist, fired by her first-hand understanding of an unjust political system.
Her organization of the Korean Association of Christian Women led Kim and her husband to develop and support the rights of working women. Together, they built the Minjung Church, which offered working women a variety of educational programs. She built a kindergarten for their children and led a women’s movement asking Congress to pass a bill for a reformed public nursery bill. Her establishment of a union resulted in ongoing suppression by factory managers and the government.
Working with the Korean Association of Christian Women, Sook-Im developed many national unification, disarmament, and peace campaigns. Understanding that the hardships of the people of Korea were closely linked to the division of their country and the exclusion of women in their own – and their country’s – destiny, Sook-Im wanted to learn more. She studied social welfare policy at graduate school. In the years that followed, she reported on Korean women’s organizations at the Beijing World Women’s Summit, and chaired many committees to ban landmines, reconcile a divided Korea, and end weapon proliferation. Women who had kept silent during the Vietnam War now spoke out against dispatching Korean troops to Iraq.
The emphasis of her work has been on daily peace-making programs, peace mediation, and policies based on a feminist perspective of diplomacy and security. As coordinator for South-North Women’s Interchange, she led an effort to rethink old laws that block the nation’s reunification.
The peace movement in her country is still in its youth, making it difficult for her to build strong networks and a sound infrastructure. But in spite of all these challenges, Sook-Im’s work has opened the way for more NGOs and women’s welfare issues. Discussions of the national defense budget and women’s welfare are now on the people’s agenda.
“Female-oriented peaceful movements, measures, and mind have guided me into a vision for resolving the conflict in the Korean peninsula as a mediator of peace,” says Sook-Im. “My friends and colleagues in women’s peace movements are the main motivators in my life.” (1000peacewomen).
link: the Views of the Korean Civil Society on the Occasion of the ROK-US Summit Meeting.
Sorry, I can’t find more informations in english about Sook-Im Kim, South Korea, in the Internet, being sure it is the wanted person.