[THE INVESTOR] North Korean missiles could not keep Charles Rockefeller, grandson of Asia Society founder John D. Rockefeller III, from the organization’s celebration of the 10th anniversary of its Korean chapter.
“Based on the media I was consuming, I should have considered not coming on this trip,” Rockefeller told The Investor in an interview on Monday in Seoul, referring to heightened tensions in the region over North Korea’s recurring missile launches and, more recently, a hydrogen bomb test.
Despite such risks, the New York-native decided to make the trip, with his confidence propped up by a journalist friend and a man whose opinion he holds in high regard, who Rockefeller said was well versed on the peninsular situation. “He, who knows the situation well, gave me an assurance that everything will be OK.”
Thanks to the advice, Rockefeller was able to deliver his keynote speech as scheduled for the Asia Society Korea 10th Anniversary Kickoff Fundraising Dinner on Tuesday.
Charles Rockefeller speaks with The Investor during an interview at Herald Square in Yongsan-gu, Seoul on Sept. 18. Park Hyun-koo/The Investor
Asia Society Korea Center is the local branch of the New York-headquartered nonprofit organization that began in 2008. The Asia Society was founded by philanthropist John D. Rockefeller III in 1956 to promote mutual understanding and strengthen the partnership between Asian nations and the US. It now runs centers in 10 locations, including five US cities, Manila in the Philippines, Seoul and Mumbai in India, among others.
The junior Rockefeller follows in the footsteps of his grandfather -- described as a “clairvoyant” man -- and is currently the trustee of the 60-year-old organization. Now, more people are catching onto the mission of Asia Society, including in the Middle East, and he expects to see its influence grow in the coming years.
Rockefeller was recently in Saudi Arabia, where the Asia Society is beginning to gain more traction. Following the Seoul trip, Rockefeller is heading to Beijing, to attend the 100th anniversary event of the Peking Union Medical College Hospital, one of the major hospitals in China founded by his family.
The last time he was in Korea, three years ago, Rockefeller visited the DMZ as well as the military headquarters here with Lotte Group Chairman Shin Dong-bin, who also chairs the Asia Society Korea Center, describing the experience as “interesting” and “surreal.”
Meanwhile, the 44-year-old is not only the carrier of the fabled Rockefeller legacy, but also an entrepreneur. He currently runs consulting firm Composite Apps as the head of a partnership, along with the firm’s CEO Long Nguyen. Composite Apps specializes in data analytics and artificial intelligence to help companies perform better by driving out inefficiencies, partnering with a number of Fortune 500 companies, according to Rockefeller.
Previously, the Stanford graduate co-founded two startups, Halio Health and LearnerX, which focus on health and education, respectively.
By Ahn Sung-mi (firstname.lastname@example.org)