Washington, D.C., March 29, 2006 -- In-Sop Han, chief of Voice of America's Korean Service, is retiring April 1 after 41 years of service with the U.S. government.
Han, 69, began his career in 1965 at the U.S. embassy in Seoul, Korea, as a Media Specialist. The embassy sent him to Vietnam to provide daily Korean-language coverage of the war for the Voice of America. In 1971, he moved to VOA's headquarters in Washington, D.C. During his career, Han has covered such events as the shooting-down of Korean Airlines flight 007, several Republican and Democratic national conventions, the first multilateral talks on North Korea in Geneva, and G-7 Summit meetings in Tokyo.
A native of Seoul, Han received a degree in international relations from Seoul National University and continued his education at George Washington University in Washington, D.C.
While at VOA, Han interviewed a number of North Korean officials, including the chairman of the Supreme Peoples' Congress and the foreign minister. He also reported directly from North Korea and China and received a VOA Excellence in Programming award for his report "North Koreans in Yanbian," based on materials gathered during a 1999 trip to the Chinese border. In 2004, Pyongyang's ambassador to the United Nations told Han, "Your name is famous in North Korea, where you have many listeners."
In recognition of his professional journalism and effective management skills, Han became Chief of the VOA Korean Service - - the first Korean American ever to take on the important position.
During a recent visit to China, Han met with North Korean defectors living in secret in China's remote northeastern countryside. While standing on the banks of the Tumen River, near the North Korean border, Han was gratified to hear his colleagues' voices on VOA's Korean language broadcasts coming in loud and clear on his shortwave radio.
During his 21-years as VOA's Korean Service chief, Han established a network of stringers among North Korean defectors and helped the service double its broadcast schedule from 90 minutes to three hours per day.
Han said he sees his mission at VOA as one of "empowering the North Korean people with accurate and uncensored information so they can begin to take control of their lives and build alternatives to the state described to them by Pyongyang."
An inveterate traveler, Han, who is married and the father of two children, spends his vacation time traveling with missionaries to remote areas, including villages in Bangladesh, Tanzania, Mexico, and in northeast China along the border with North Korea. He plans to continue this work in retirement.
Additional information and programming for VOA's Korean Service may be found at: www.VOANews.com/Korean.
The Voice of America, which first went on the air in 1942, is a multimedia international broadcasting service funded by the U.S. government through the Broadcasting Board of Governors. VOA broadcasts more than 1,000 hours of news, information, educational and cultural programming every week to an estimated worldwide audience of more than 100 million people. Programs are produced in 44 languages.
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