Burnaby, BC —The Social Studies Educators Network of Canada (SSENC) and the Korean War Legacy Foundation (KWLF)  partnered to put on two days of learning and commemorating about the Korean War for Canadian teachers in Burnaby, BC, August 2 and 3, 2023. Veterans and dignitaries were in attendance to share the impacts of the Korean War, including the Honourable Yonah Martin, Deputy Leader of the Opposition in the Senate, and Dr. Andrew Burtch of the Canadian War Museum. This event was made possible thanks to the generous support of the Ministry of Patriots and Veterans Affairs (Republic of Korea).

Over 40 teachers from across Canada gathered in BC  for the World Congress on the Teaching of the Korean War. They learned about Canada’s participation in the Korean War directly from Korean War veterans and learned how to effectively engage their students in learning about Canada’s participation in the Korean War.

New Teaching Resource Book

This year’s event celebrates the publication of a new curriculum resource – Canada’s Participation in the Korean War: Inquiry, Historical Thinking and Action. All participants in the World Congress received a copy of the resource, and the book will be distributed across Canada at SSENC member association conferences throughout the 2023-2024 school year. The resource is inquiry based and includes Korean War veterans’ stories from across Canada, selected by teachers, for teachers using compelling questions and engaging activities.

Canada’s Participation in the Korean War: Inquiry, Historical Thinking and Action

Participants place poppies on the wreaths at the Burnaby memorial

Jennifer Tweedie with her lesson about Remembrance

The SSENC writers and Senator Martin

Lise Proulx with her lesson about the significance of the Korean War for French Canadians

The World Congress participants at the Ambassador of Peace memorial in Burnaby

Canadian teachers consider the significance of the Korean War for French Canadians

Dr. Jongwoo Han introduces the Korean War

Canadian teachers and Korean pre-service teachers learning together

Dr. Han with MPVA officials and the Korean pre-service teachers

Rachel Collishaw introduces the new resource

Commemorative Events and Gala Dinner

At noon on August 2, participants participated in a wreath laying at the Burnaby Korean War memorial, and a gala dinner event at the Hilton Metrotown Burnaby. The events included Senator Yonah Martin and included His Worship, Mike Hurley, mayor of Burnaby, Consul General Jongho Kyun of the Korean Consulate in Vancouver, Director Seul-Ki Kim, Ministry of Patriots and Veterans Affairs, Republic of Korea and Dr. Jongwoo Han of the Korean War Legacy Foundation (USA).

Veteran’s Panel

On August 3rd, we were honoured to have local Korean War veterans and educators together in attendance so that the Korean War will continue to be remembered and honoured by educators across Canada. Teachers heard directly from veterans of the Korean War: Jai Boong KIM, Ralph Da Coste, and Ron Foyle.

International Guests

Along with the Korean War Legacy Foundation staff, entirely made of classroom teachers from the US, the event also included Wesley Hedgepeth, the president of the National Council for the Social Studies in the US, as well as Craig Thornhill, the Kaiārahi of the New Zealand History Teachers Association, who are beginning to create their own educational resource on the Korean War. However, the real stars of the conference were the Korean pre-service teachers who joined the group for the event, and shared their own lessons that they had developed for use in Korea based on the Canadian experience. They brought a whole new energy to the room and many connections were made!

We’d like to send a special thank you to the Korean War Legacy Foundation for organizing this stellar and unique event that brought teachers together from coast to coast to coast!

A special thanks to Maranda Wilkinson, for taking such fantastic photos of the event!