South Korea state dinner: Who’s who on the guest list, and who got a seat at the head table


John Cho. (Katy Winn/AP)

Celebrity chef David Chang in 2008 (Diane Bondareff/AP)

Just one of the interesting names to show up on the guest list for the South Korea state dinner. Also in the house tonight: David Chang, the D.C.-raised celebrity chef behind NYC’s Momofuku. And Chang-Rae Lee, the novelist and Princeton professor who has scooped up so many literary prizes. Dr. Peter Rhee, one of the trauma surgeons who operated on Gabrielle Giffords after she was shot. And Mark Keam, a Seoul-born Virginia state delegate from Vienna. Not surprisingly, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon.


Sheryl Sandberg. (Gregory Bull/AP)

Sheryl Sandberg, the COO of Facebook is a guest. Alan Mulally, the president and CEO of Ford. And Robert Gallucci, the former dean of Georgetown’s School of Foreign Service made the list — he’s currently president of the MacArthur Foundation. Also, CNN’s Candy Crowley, escorted by her producer Mike Roselli; and CBS anchor Scott Pelley and his wife Jane.

There’s the usual cohort of official Washington types: John Kerry, Orrin Hatch, Nancy Pelosi, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Valerie Jarrett, Susan Rice, Tom Vilsack, Tim Geithner, Ron Kirk, Jim Leach.

But who gets to sit with the president? We obtained the seating arrangements for the head table. Below, a rough schematic of how the Obamas have seated 18 of their guests with them around a long rectangular table.

        June Cho

Erica Lira Castro       Gabriel Catone

Robert King         Kathlene King

Madam Kim         Mayor Julian Castro

President Obama       Ban Ki-Moon

President Lee         Nancy Pelosi

Mrs. Obama         Bruce Cohen

Alan Mullaly         Emily Rhee

Mrs. Ban           John Cho

Paul Pelosi          Peter Rhee

       Nicki Mulally


Bob King is the president of United Auto Workers; Kathene is his daughter. Bruce Cohen is the Oscar-winning producer of “American Beauty” and “Milk,” who recently collaborated with the first lady on a star-studded PSA to support military families; Gabriel Catone is Cohen’s husband. June Jay Cho is the guest of John Cho; we don’t know their relation, but a tweet from the actor this afternoon suggests that’s his dad.


Read also:

Doo-Ri Chung talks about her state dinner dress for Michelle Obama, 9:25 p.m.

South Korea state dinner guest list, 6:29 p.m.

Michelle Obama’s South Korea state dinner dress, 7:32 p.m.

State dinner menu, entertainment, 5:40 p.m.

State dinner for Korea preview: Michelle Obama’s dresses; a history of state dinners, 10/13/11

State dinner guest David Kim, and how he almost missed it, 10/12/11

White House state dinner for Korea: We try to guess the guests, 10/5/11

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