▲ JITC chief Chung Dal-ho leads the celebrations. Photo by Darren Southcott
The UN Charter entered into force on Oct. 24, 1945, giving birth to the United Nations. In its preamble is a determination from the peoples of the world to “practice tolerance and live together in peace with one another as good neighbours.”
Good neighbors were aplenty on Friday at, fittingly, Hotel Neighborhood Jeju in Shin Jeju, as the island held its second UN Day event, the first being in 2012. This year it was co-hosted by Jeju International Training Center (JITC, or UNITAR-Jeju, an acronym of the French for “International Training Center for Local Actors”), and local international NGO, Global Inner Peace.
Organizer Koh Eun-Kyoung of Global Inner Peace said the event was held to bridge the gap between Jeju and global society and raise local people’s awareness of the UN and the work it does. To this end she says it was a success, with many people stating they learned much about the work of the international organization. It was also a chance to bring people together from Jeju’s diverse communities.
▲ Sun Joun Young, currently chair professor at Kyungnam University and former vice-president of UN Associations in Korea. Photo by Darren Southcott
“This was a great networking opportunity for people in Jeju interested in global issues and international cooperation ... transcending national, racial, religious and cultural boundaries,” said Koh. She added that she was pleased with the representation from Jeju’s religious communities, including Christian, Buddhist and Islamic groups, as well as people working in international development and social welfare.
The day marked the 69th UN Day, it being held globally since 1948 to celebrate the founding principles international organization, and its cherished principles. The UN secretary general, Ban Ki Moon, said via video message that the UN Charter was “a solemn pledge to the world’s people” to end assaults on their dignity, and although much work remains to be done, “we can take heart from our achievements,” citing UN treaties addressing inequality, torture and racism.
Welcoming remarks were also offered by Chung Dal-ho, executive director of JITC, which provides capacity-building training to civil society actors and public officials in the Asia Pacific region from its Jungmun base. Chung spoke of the value of JITC in reaching out to regions across the world to provide training and support. Chung said that the center can provide a bridge to other peoples and is an invaluable institution in the mission for peace globally.
▲ Spirit Ensemble play at UN Day celebrations. Photo by Darren Southcott
The evening also included remarks by Lee Sun Hwa, chairwoman of the Council Operation Committee of Jeju Special Self-Governing Provincial Council, who used the opportunity to call for more support for Jeju’s international community, calling on the spirit of Kim Mandeok in building an equitable and inclusive Jeju for all. She also bemoaned the weak protection for Jeju’s cultural heritage, highlighting the 2013 loss of Casa Del Aqua in Jungmun, by the late Mexican architect Ricardo Legorreta.
Following Lee, the main address was given by Sun Joun Young, currently chair professor at Kyungnam University and former vice-president of UN Associations in Korea. Sun gave an extensive overview of the workings of the UN and its structure, leaving the audience with key questions as to its future direction, such as the composition of the Security Council and the identity and nationality of the next secretary general.
After the speeches came the symbolic cutting of rice cake, led by Sun Joun Young and Chung Dal-ho. This was then followed by classical music from Spirit Ensemble, a string quartet which buoyed the mood among the diverse crowd.
▲ Attendees enjoy a wine reception. Photo by Darren Southcott
To end, a wine reception gave the various nationalities the chance to reflect on the afternoon’s events. American Jeju resident Marsha Bogolin felt the reception was appropriate in allowing attendees to discuss the presented topics, although she would have liked simultaneous English translation.
Joseph Kim, also American, concurred, saying the short English summaries could have been improved upon, although he hailed the event for bringing Jeju’s diverse communities together and informing them about the UN.
ⓒ Jeju Weekly 2009 (http://www.jejuweekly.com)
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