▲ Life-like wax figures of world leaders such as Mikhail Gorbachev toasting former South Korean President Roh Tae Woo
On a hillside overlooking the serenity of the sea sits the International Peace Center Jeju, a tribute to Jeju’s mission to be an island of peace.
The center is located near the International Convention Center, and draws visitors from around the world to learn about Jeju’s role in building international peace. Jeju was designated as the “Island of World Peace” in 2005, with two main ideals. Number one was in deference to the “Spirit of Sammu,” which declares that there are no thieves, no gates and no beggars on Jeju. Number two was to honor the April 3 “Sa Sam” Jeju massacre by leading the way to reconciliation.
The flashy, futuristic glass and steel building was opened in September of 2006, and features outdoor exhibits and sculptures, and three indoor exhibition halls in a light and airy space. A large blue dove of peace carrying a globe is suspended over the central atrium, leading a flock of smaller doves .
The outdoor exhibits pay tribute to Germany’s struggle for peace, and its similarity to the division between North and South Korea. The sculpture titled “Metal Wall” is a portion of the border that divided the two Germanys, and was donated to the Jeju Peace Institute in 2007 by the Grenzland Museum in Germany to convey the German people’s wish for a peaceful reunification of the Korean Peninsula.
The “War and Peace” monument is a large, upright cement slab featuring the Buddhist symbol for peace on the front, and the same symbol, set on edge as a swastika, on the back. While the Buddhist symbol has always meant peace, it was corrupted by Nazi Germany into a symbol of horror. The monument boldly represents these two poles of humanity.
“Untitled” is a large steel and concrete sculpture, with the concrete half being a section of the Berlin Wall, joined to a steel plate from the DMZ between North and South Korea. An elegant, brushed steel “One” bridges the two sections, signifying a desire for unity, freedom and peace.
Another portion of the Berlin Wall is used in “From the Berlin Wall to the DMZ Peace Park.” This piece features the bold letters DMZ in rusted steel, with rust “blood stains” to represent the pain of separation, while twining ivy represents the promise of freedom and peace.
Inside the museum are many interactive displays, which allow schoolchildren to learn about Jeju’s role in world peace in a fun, yet educational way.
▲ The former Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi sipping cocktails with former South Korean President Roh Moo Hyun greet visitors in Exhibition Hall 3. Photo by Marcie Miller
Exhibition Hall No. 3, however, is probably the most eye-catching. Here visitors can meet world leaders, Korean athletes, pop stars and actors immortalized in life-like wax. The display particularly highlights world leaders who have visited Jeju since the Korean/Soviet Union summit meeting here in 1991.
It includes former U.S. President Bill Clinton stepping of Air Force One, former Soviet Union President Mikhail Gorbachev toasting former South Korean President Roh Tae Woo, and former Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi sipping cocktails with former South Korean President Roh Moo Hyun.
The Garden of Celebrities features 14 Korean stars and athletes, including actor Bae, Young-joon, soprano Jo, Soo-mi, and 1936 Olympic gold medal marathon runner Sohn, Ki-chung.
The Jeju International Peace Center is managed by the International Peace Foundation, a non-profit private organization established by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade, and by Jeju Special Self-Governing Province.
The center is open daily from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Admission is 3,000 won for adults, 1,500 for youths. Admission for Jeju residents is 1,500 won for adults, 800 won for children.
For more information visit www.ipcjeju.com or call 064-735-6550. Both are in Korean only.
ⓒ Jeju Weekly 2009 (http://www.jejuweekly.com)
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