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Youngest Korean-American group leader

March 8, 2011 - 17:47 By 천성우
Korean-Americans in Howard County, Maryland, have elected the youngest leader of a Korean-American community in the 108-year history of Korean immigration to the U.S.

Charley C. Sung, a 36-year-old born in Korea to first generation immigrants, took office March 1 as the sixth president of the Korean-American Community Association of Howard County, Yonhap news agency reported.
Charley C. Sung

In January, Choi Jung-beom, 49, was elected to represent the Korean-American association of Washington, becoming the first leader of a Korean-American community to be a Korean-born child of first-generation immigrants.

The presidential election of the Howard County Korean association has taken Sung a step further: He is the first Korean native leader in his 30s whose parents are first-generation immigrants.

Born in Seoul, Sung grew up in 15 countries including Ecuador, Zambia and Bulgaria, as his father worked as a diplomat. They settled in Howard County in 1994.

He earned a bachelor’s degree in economics from Johns Hopkins University, graduated from George Washington University Law School, and practices law as a principal partner with a younger Korean-American lawyer.

He says that many Korean-Americans born in the U.S. don’t speak Korean, which is a cause of problems in communication with parents. “If they learn Korean, they could better understand their parents and Korea as well,” Sung said. He was educated in Korea for two years ― one year as an elementary school student and one as a high school student.

Korean-Americans account for about 8 percent of the county population of 300,000.