National Reputation by a Non-Profit Organization: How Voluntary Agency Network of Korea (Vank) Affects the National Reputation of South Korea

Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Public Relations


Sung-Un Yang


Nongovernmental Organizations, Public Diplomacy, Voluntary Agency Network of Korea, VANK

Subject Categories



The purpose of this study is to examine the role of nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) to improve the national reputation in the context of public diplomacy. The researcher chose the NGO Voluntary Agency Network of Korea (VANK) for the project and conducted a case study to examine how this NGO affects the national branding of South Korea. Interviews were conducted with employees from VANK via Skype, followed by additional in-depth interviews with officers from government agencies who worked or are working with VANK. Most interviews were conducted by phone, and some were by email. Both groups of interviewees agreed that the expertise of the government and NGOs is different, so VANK's various activities are effective in fulfilling what the government does not carry out. The respondents understand soft power as culture and that social media enables interaction between VANK members and foreign audiences. Findings show that VANK conducts voluntary two-way communication efforts to convey positive information about South Korea with its strategic publics.

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