East meets West at Southwest Point

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By The Staff



Fort Southwest Point received several visitors from half a world away Tuesday.

Five residents of South Korea toured the fort with their hosts from the Kingston Rotary Club. The Koreans are part of an exchange program through Rotary.

“It’s a good opportunity to share cultures,” said Bobby Davis, program chairman for the Kingston Rotary.

Each team is sponsored by an area Rotary International district, and they visit with a Rotary district in another country.

“They come to us, and we go to them,” Davis said.

The program is aimed at professionals between 25 and 40 who are in their early stages of their careers.

Each team visits in its host country for four to six weeks and stays with local Rotarians.

At Fort Southwest Point, the visitors got a strong taste of history. They tried on period attire, wielded tools and weapons and toured the fort.

“It was interesting,” said Ho-Suk Oh, Rotarian team leader.

After the tour, they were headed to Nashville to attend a district conference. There, the visitors will give a presentation about their home county and professions.

As part of their visit, the group will participate in Rotary meetings, social events, club presentations and formal visits.

“You build some international friendships,” Davis said. “And it’s good for our international good will.”

To participate in the program, young professionals must complete an application and be interviewed by Rotarian leaders.

“It’s quite a commitment,” Davis said. “They have to be off work for four weeks or so.”

The South Korean group visited Chattanooga, Knoxville, Kingston and a few other cities while in Tennessee.

“It’s very nice, beautiful,” said Jung-Won Seo, a non-Rotarian visitor with the group. “It’s very quiet.”