As Yoo Ra Sung prepares to complete her final year at Stanford University, her path in international relations and public policy has been marked by a deep commitment to be the voice for those who cannot speak up for themselves. Hailing from Honolulu, Hawaii, Yoo Ra’s journey is enriched by her heritage as a child of immigrant parents from South Korea.
Growing up on the island of Oahu, Yoo Ra discovered her passion for public diplomacy—the art of bridging cultures and fostering understanding between nations—through her involvement in activities like Model United Nations. Her determination to effect positive change and advocate for the voices of the marginalized led her to pursue undergraduate studies in International Relations and History, and graduate study in Public Policy, both at Stanford.
In seeking to combine these various disciplines and perspectives in a career field, Yoo Ra decided to explore federal government work. As part of the prestigious U.S. Foreign Service Internship Program (USFSIP), Yoo Ra had the incredible opportunity to intern at the State Department in both Washington, D.C., and Singapore. Working in the Bureau of Democracy, Labor, and Human Rights, she engaged in critical issues, including drafting cables and reviewing funding proposals regarding the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK), as well as meeting with defectors—a deeply meaningful experience given her Korean heritage.
In Singapore, Yoo Ra joined the Embassy’s Public Affairs Section, where she had the chance to interview potential Fulbright scholars and visit local secondary schools, interacting with young minds and fostering cross-cultural exchanges. Proudly representing America overseas, Yoo Ra exemplifies the essence of public diplomacy—forging connections, building bridges, and promoting mutual understanding between nations.
Her time in Singapore has been a transformative experience, broadening her perspective and deepening her interest to serving as a diplomat on the world stage. As she returns to the United States, Yoo Ra carries with her a wealth of knowledge and experiences that will undoubtedly shape her future endeavors.
Amidst her enriching experiences in Singapore, she developed a fondness for the local hawker food scene. Her favorite delight? Prawn Paste Chicken, a delectable dish she savored while immersing herself in the vibrant and diverse culinary offerings of the city-state.
Considering entering the Foreign Service Officer track, Yoo Ra is eager to continue her journey in diplomacy, empowering voices, and contributing to a more interconnected and compassionate world. Her dedication to being a force for good and championing the rights of others highlights the true essence of public diplomacy—to bridge divides and create a brighter future for all.
As Yoo Ra Sung embarks on the next chapter of her life, we celebrate her passion for empowering others and her inspiring pursuit of creating a positive impact on the global stage. We eagerly await the remarkable contributions she will make as she continues her journey of fostering a more inclusive and understanding world.
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