When the Korean traditional song, Arirang, starts to resonate, the young-yet-mature students - potential leaders of tomorrow - begin videoing and taking photos with their smart phones. Colorfully attired and full of curiousity, the students are captivated at the Jeju Youth Forum 2013, MG Jeju Inservice Training Institute and Resort, Oct. 25.
The whole event spanned Oct. 24-28 and was hosted by Jeju Special Self-Governing Province and Jeju Provincial Office of Education under the slogan, “Empower the Youth, the Leaders of the Future.” 125 high school students from Jeju and Taiwan, Russia, Mongolia, U.S.A., Vietnam, Iraq, Japan and China gathered to tackle society’s pressing issues.
Jeju Governor Woo Keun-min and Provincial Office of Education Superin-tendent Yang Seong-eon welcomed the students in a joint statement, promising: “Every moment spent in Jeju, a treasure of the world, will provide all of you with the impetus to become future leaders in the world.”
American Allen Fox, Innovations for Poverty Action project coordinator, whose keynote speech was titled “Crossing Borders,” said:
“To those of you coming from different countries, you did the first step when you got on an airplane to come here. You guys experience new food, cultures, languages and many other things … For those from Korea, Jeju, your first step is to come to this hall. You got the difficult tasks in planning to host all the diverse students and welcoming them. Also, mixing your culture and ... accepting other cultures. I want to clap all of you.”
Fox then spoke about confronting identity and difference.
“The first important thing is identity and how we define, create and maintain relationships. Then, once we know how to identify what is important to us, the next important stage is to acknowledge the similarities and differences amongst us … And then lastly, the methods of building and creating relationships between different cultures through storytelling, and sharing important moments ... in our own lives.”
The Jeju Youth Forum 2013 comprised eight panel discussions, cultural experiences, talent shows and local tours. The eight topics discussed included new leadership, smartphone addiction, school violence and unequal food distribution. There were also cultural and tour programs around Jeju Island.
The youths had the opportunity to learn from each other and cooperate at the 2013 Jeju Youth Forum and displayed great hope to build a peaceful future through relationships forged on the island of peace, Jeju. Maybe one day, a better world can be formed as these students become the global leaders of tomorrow.
ⓒ Jeju Weekly 2009 (http://www.jejuweekly.com)
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