The World Affairs Council of Orange County,

the Korea Economic Institute of America,

and the Consulate General of the Republic of Korea in Los Angeles


Threats & Challenges Ahead: The Future for Korea

An In-Person Dinner Event

Date & Time:

Tuesday, October 24, 2023

5:30 PM: Reception & Korean Dinner

6:30 PM: Main Program and Q&A


Quail Hill Community Center

39 Shady Canyon Dr.

Irvine, CA 92603

*This event is a private reservation and is not endorsed or sponsored by the City of Irvine


Members of WACOC: $45

Non-members: $55

Young Professional Members: $25

Students: $10 


There is plenty of free self-parking on-site

Panelist Bios:

Minister Choon-goo Kim

Deputy Chief of Mission of the Embassy of the Republic of Korea in the U.S.A.

A career diplomat, prior to assuming his current position, Mr. Kim served as Secretary to the President for Peace Planning at the Office of National Security. In this position, he advised the President on strengthening the ROK-US alliance as well as denuclearizing the Korean Peninsula. Since joining the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in 1992, Mr. Kim has built a rich expertise in Korea-U.S. relations, as well as on various multilateral issues. His previous positions include: Consul-General of the Republic of Korea in Honolulu, Hawaii(during which he enjoyed working with numerous admirals and generals of the Indo Pacific Command); Director-General for Foreign Affairs and National Security at the Prime Minister’s Office; Deputy Director-General for the North American Affairs Bureau; Director for the North America Division at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs; and Minister-Counselor for political/congressional affairs at the Korean Embassy in Washington, D.C. He has also served as an advisor to several foreign ministers and vice foreign ministers at Ministry headquarters in Seoul. Mr. Kim’s other overseas tours include the Korean Mission to the U.N. in New York, the Korean Mission to the U.N. in Vienna, and the Korean Embassy in Belgrade. Mr. Kim holds a Bachelor’s degree in International Relations from Seoul National University. He is married with two daughters.

Deputy Consul General Song-Hwan Kwon

Consulate General of the Republic of Korea – Los Angeles

Deputy Consul General Song-Hwan Kwon joined the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade (MOFA) in 1998 and served in the following overseas missions of the Republic of Korea: the Consulates in Los Angeles, Boston, Istanbul, Turkey and the Embassy in Caracas, Venezuela. He also worked as Assistant Secretary to the President at the Office of National Security and Director of North American Division II, Bureau of North American Affairs in MOFA and other various positions in the MOFA.

Mr. Mark Tokola

Vice President of Korea Economic Institute of America (KEI) in Washington, D.C.

Mark Tokola is Vice President of the Korea Economic Institute of America in Washington, DC. He retired as a U.S. Senior Foreign Service Officer with the rank of Minister-Counselor in September 2014. His last posting was as Minister Counselor for Political Affairs at US Embassy London. Previously he had served as Deputy Chief of Mission at the American Embassies in Seoul, Republic of Korea; Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia; and, Reykjavik, Iceland. Among his other postings were two tours at the US Mission to the European Union in Brussels, Minister-Counselor for Economic Affairs at Embassy London, and Economic Counselor at US Embassy The Hague. He also served as Director of the Iraq Transition Assistance Office (ITAO) in Baghdad from 2007-2008. Mr Tokola received the State Department’s Superior Honor Award for his work on implementing the Dayton Peace Accords while serving as Political Counselor in Sarajevo, Bosnia-Herzegovina from 1997-1999. He holds a BA in International Relations from Pomona College in Claremont, California, and an LL.M. in European Community Law from the University of Edinburgh, Scotland. Mr. Tokola serves on the Board of Governors of DACOR: An Organization of Foreign Affairs Professionals, and on the Board of Trustees of the Bacon House Foundation.

Mr. Tokola’s spouse is Dr. Nancy S. Tokola, a physician who graduated from Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine. She holds post-doctoral degrees from the Vrije Universiteit Brussel (Belgium) in Medical and Pharmaceutical Research and from the University of Groningen (Netherlands) in Humanitarian Action. She was the first American recipient of a European Union Marie Curie Fellowship. Mr. and Dr. Tokola have four children.

Mr. Seth Bailey

Director for the Office of Korean and Mongolian Affairs, U.S. Department of State

Seth Bailey became Director for the Office of Korean and Mongolian Affairs at the U.S. Department of State in July 2023. His last assignment was in Honolulu as a visiting professor and Senior Diplomatic Fellow at the DoD-affiliated Asia-Pacific Center for Security Studies. From 2019-2022, Seth served as the Minister Counselor for Political Affairs at U.S. Embassy Beijing, where he led negotiations with the PRC. Seth has also served overseas assignments in South Korea, Sri Lanka, China, and Afghanistan. In Washington, Seth has served on the China Desk, in the Economic Bureau, the Bureau of Legislative Affairs, and in the Bureau of Counter terrorism. Seth was an attorney before joining the State Department.

Moderator Bio:

Mr. William Edwards

CEO, Edwards Global Services, Inc. & Global Advisor to Business 

William Edwards is an executive with 49 years of international operations, development, executive and entrepreneurial experience. He has lived in China, the Czech Republic, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Iran, and Turkey.   

With experience in the franchise, oil and gas, information technology and management consulting sectors, he has directed projects on-site in Alaska, Asia, Eastern Europe and the Near East and worked on projects in 50 countries. Founded in 2001, Edwards Global Services, Inc. takes U.S. businesses global and currently has activity in 26 countries. Mr. Edwards and his company have twice received the U.S. Presidential award for export excellence.  In 2016, He was appointed to the District Export Council by the U.S. Secretary of Commerce and serves as Vice Chair for Orange County. He is also a Member of the Advisory Board of the University of California, Irvine, MIND Institute, a Trustee and Past Chair of the World Affairs Council of Orange County and a Co-Founder and Director of the Nancy Imlay Edwards Foundation. 

Mr. Edwards speaks around the world on taking businesses international and doing business in emerging markets. He has authored numerous articles on global business development.  Since 2001, he has published the GlobalVue™ country-ranking tool quarterly to help companies decide which are the best countries for profitable development of their business.