Victor Hsu '73
2011 Distinguished Alumnus Award for Professional Achievement
Speaking out against Agent Orange in Vietnam, involved in famine relief efforts in North Korea, and serving as an activist for the religious freedom of the Chinese—Victor Hsu '73 is considered an expert on contemporary international issues serving in a variety of capacities working for international human justice and as an advocate to indigent populations across Asia.
Born in Taiwan and growing up in Mauritius, a small island off the coast of South Africa, Victor was an unlikely candidate to consider attending Carroll. His father, a pastor, contacted the Presbyterian Church looking for possible ways for his children to attend college. The recommendation led Hsu to Carroll due in part to the church's relationship with the college. Graduating in 1973 with a Bachelor of Arts in religion and history, Hsu attributes much of his success to the groundwork and training that Carroll provided him.
Hsu began his career directing the United Nations program of the World Council of Churches as a representative on the board of the Conference of Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs). During this time, he was in contact with the office of the Secretary General and the presidents of the annual UN General Assembly sessions. Victor then took on the role of Director of the Asia/Pacific Department for the National Council of Churches USA and as National Director of The Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) at World Vision International. Currently, Hsu is a visiting professor in the Master of Public Policy in Economic Development (MPP/ED) program and Director of International Aid and Development at Korea Development Institute School of Public Policy and Management.
Hsu has written extensively and is frequently invited to be a keynote speaker on international relations such as the role of the UN, terrorism and issues related to northeast Asia. He has provided private briefings to the leadership of the US Congress on both the DPRK and religious freedom in China. He was an official observer to the Philippine Peace Talks and has been received by several heads of states and diplomats around the world. A frequent visitor to North Korea since the 1980s, he has met with high government officials on both sides of the demilitarized zone (DMZ) and exchanged views with them on issues of reunification. Hsu also joined a delegation to Vietnam to learn about the legacy of Agent Orange. Deeply moved by what he witnessed: severely disabled children and people hard at work to provide health and rehabilitation services—he has now become a supporter of Agent Orange relief work by formally endorsing the U.S.-Vietnam Dialogue Group’s Declaration and Plan of Action. Hsu was appointed Consultant on Peace and Justice by the National Council of Churches in Korea in connection with the 2013 Assembly of the World Council of Churches.
Throughout his travels and extensive professional work abroad, Hsu believes Carroll taught him several life lessons. His professors in religion, history and French shaped his views, "In addition to being outstanding experts in their fields, they were captivating, exciting and instructive. They made subject matter relevant to what was going on in the world and encouraged me to be forward looking while maintaining a keen interest in the world."
Committed to making change, Hsu continues to explore ways to utilize his skills and expertise. He particularly enjoys advising students about how they can get involved in humanitarian interventions in situations of great need like Haiti or Somalia –or how individuals can partner with agencies in official development assistance. Victor is married to Janet Kathryn Koponen-Hsu and they have one daughter, Jennifer.