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About Dai Sil Kim-Gibson

Shoulder Friends is created and run by Dai Sil Kim-Gibson, a North-Korea-born American. A former professor of Religion at Mount Holyoke College, Dai Sil has been Director of the Media Program at the New York State Council on the Arts; and the Senior Program Officer of the Media Program at the National Endowment for the Humanities. She is currently an independent filmmaker/writer, known for championing the compelling but neglected issues of human rights.

Her film credits include America Becoming, Sa-I-Gu, A Forgotten People: the Sakhalin Koreans, Wet Sand, Olivia’s Story, Silence Broken: Korean Comfort Women and Motherland (Cuba Korea USA). For more information about these films, please check out her website:

All of her films have garnered national and international awards. They have been screened at numerous festivals worldwide, and have been broadcast nationally on PBS and on the Sundance Channel in the United States. Among other honors, she’s received grants from the Rockefeller Foundation and the MacArthur Foundation. An author of numerous articles, Silence Broken: Korean Comfort Women was her first book (The Philadelphia Inquirer, (“unforgettable.”)

About Donald D. Gibson

Don left life on an Iowa farm to become a scholar in German history, teacher, political activist, and senior government official. His studies took him to the University of Iowa and then to Germany. His political concerns led him to manage electoral campaigns, including Eugene McCarthy for President and Governor Harold Hughes for U.S. Senate, to the civil rights movement and Vietnam War protests. His studies in Germany centered on research into how Hitler got elected, who actually voted for him, and why. His public career culminated as Acting Chairman of the National Endowment for the Humanities under President Clinton. During the Reagan/Bush, Sr. administration, Don engaged in culture wars with Lynne Cheney and William Bennett.

About Shoulder Friends

Don and Dai Sil met at NEH in 1978 and were married in 1979. They had been working on their joint memoir for several years, but Don passed away in 2009 in New York City before they could finish it. At his death bed, Dai Sil had promised Don that she would complete their memoir. He had left enough writings for her to achieve that goal.

A love story, a human story, and also an American story, the memoir is entitled Shoulder Friends, en endearing Korean expression, used to describe friends who grew up together with arms on each other’s shoulder. Friends who shared a sweet potato, an apple or a sticky rice cake. Friends who confided secrets and swore never to tell. Friends who shared their dreams for future and enduring love for each other.

Dai Sil has completed the work and is in search of a publisher. In the meantime, Looking for Don: A Meditation is scheduled for publication in the Spring of 2012 by the Forest Woods Media Productions. A poet and a friend, Grace Cavalieri writes in her forward:

“Dai Sil takes us by the hand through her last days with Don. She has the stunning ability to say what she means with courage and style. We readers have the privilege of sharing the feelings that let light through: dreams, poems, thought fragments, memory and daily events. This is high risk writing. Opening the heart to see what falls out is living fully. Doing it in public is living dangerously.”

This blog will share ideas from both manuscripts as well as about every day issues, lives and culture. It invites dialogues from everyone.

  1. Hello. I just left a message, commenting on Dai Sil Kim Gibson’s memoire: Soulder Friends. But I am not too computer savy–I can email and look up info., but I’m not sure how to get in contact with and get a reply from Mrs. Kim Gibson.I did leave a note after my comment – I hope to have contact. You may email me… thank you very much.

    • Please know that I received your thoughtful comment and appreciated it deeply. I am so glad that you have such strong faith in God to sustain you. I try to have strong faith myself, though I do not always succeed. But I try. Thanks. Dai Sil

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