Park Geun Hye, former Chairperson of the Grand National Party(GNP), entered politics with the objective of reforming the party system and the overall political environment and ultimately building a stronger nation.
The daughter of late President Park Jung Hee, Park graduated from Sogang University in 1974, earning a degree in electronic engineering, under the firm conviction that national priorities should be placed on the electronics industry in order for Korea to increase exports and become more competitive during its modernization period. In that same year, the First Lady was assassinated by a terrorist, leaving Park with the duty of accompanying her father to all major national functions in her mother’s place. Park’s own career began in earnest when she was appointed as Honorary President of Girl Scouts Korea, also in 1974.
After her father President Park Jung Hee passed away on October 26, 1979, Park devoted herself to helping the poor and the marginalized through her management of the Yukyoung Foundation and the Saemaeum Hospital. Park served as Director of the Senior Citizens’ Welfare Center, and subsequently went on to assume the position of Director of the Korean Cultural Foundation in 1993, and Director of the Jeongsu Scholarship Fund in 1994. Park has also been an active member of the Korean Literature Association since 1994.
The 1997 financial crisis was a shock to Chairperson Park. In 1998, Park ran for office as a candidate of the GNP and was elected to parliament in Daegu.
Park visited Pyongyang in May 2002 to promote inter-Korean reconciliation and cooperation and to further stabilize peace on the Korean Peninsula. She met with North Korean Defense Committee Chairman Kim Jong-il and agreed with him on such issues as the joint inspection of Mt. Geumgang Dam, the confirmation of the whereabouts of Korean prisoners of war, the establishment of a permanent reunion center for separated families, the launch of working-level talks to reconnect inter-Korean rail links, and the invitation of the North Korean soccer team to the South.
Park has been reelected to the National Assembly in April 2008 for her 4th term and Chairperson of the GNP from March 23, 2004 to June 16, 2006.