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UNITAR-Jeju turns 2 and International UN Day celebrated, Oct. 24
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승인 2012.10.31  16:19:23
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International United Nations Day was observed on Oct. 24 with events in Jeju and across the globe to mark the 1945 establishment of the UN.

On Oct. 24 In 2010, CIFAL-Jeju, the world's most recent United Nations Institute for Training and Research (UNITAR) facility, was founded. Located in Jungmun, Seogiwpo City, it shares a facility with the Jeju Peace Institute (JPI) near the International Convention Center Jeju.

"CIFAL," derived from the French "Centre International de Formation des Acteurs Locaux," denotes UNITAR's premise to train local government and NGO policy and decision-makers.

Under the guidance of Ambassador Chung Dal-ho, and locally known as the Jeju International Training Institute (JITC), the UNITAR center "helps local actors to develop their capacities," says the organization’s Web site. Their training sessions are currently organized under two themes: environment, and human security.

In celebration of International UN Day as well as its own anniversary, JITC held a banquet ceremony at the Grand Hotel in Jeju City. In addition to JITC and JPI members, Jeju Governor Woo Keun Min attended along with many other dignitaries and Jeju leaders.

The event was particularly poignant in light of the country's second accession to a non-permanent seat on the UN's most powerful governing body, the UN Security Council, just 5 days prior on Oct. 19. The Republic of Korea was admitted as a member of the UN in 1991 and held such a seat for the first time from 1996 to 1997.

Governor Woo, in his congratulatory remarks, outlined several Jeju provincial government projects of international development cooperation which were initiated this year and said, "I hope that these efforts … will lead in the fields of environment and human security through cooperation with the UN."

The new interim director of UNITAR, Sally Fegan-Wyles, congratulated CIFAL-Jeju via video, stating, "Korea provides a shining example of the UN objectives … in its advancement of the people's welfare" and "CIFAL-Jeju is upholding the UN ideals of green growth and sustainability." She expressed her wish for a "global network of centers for building skills and sharing experience."

Dr. Muhammad Aslam Chaudhry, head of the UN Office for Sustainable Development (UNOSD), established just 1 year ago in Incheon's Songdo City and the UN's newest entity, also attended and provided words of encouragement.

The keynote speech was given by Ambassador Park Soo-gil, a lifelong diplomat and former Permanent Representative of the Republic of Korea to the UN who currently serves as President of the World Federation of UN Associations (WFUNA). He spoke on the role and significance of the UN in the global era.

To the delight of many on hand, Ambassador Park suggested the possibility of Jeju hosting the Secretariat of the UN World Tourism Organization (UNWTO), and even "an international organization under the notion of 'Integrated UN Human Environment and Development Center' that combines the concepts of peace, tourism, natural conservation, and sustainable development."

Ambassador Chung informed those in attendance that CIFAL-Jeju / JITC "has been selected for a UNDP-ROK project that allows us to expand our activities to developing countries" and that he "would like to see a branch office of the [WFUNA] opened in Jeju province in the near future."

JITC also launched "Friends of JITC," an award for those who have shown support for UNITAR, at the event. This year's recipients were Dr. Ko Seong-joon, director of the Institute for Peace Studies at Jeju National University, and Song Jung Hee, publisher of The Jeju Weekly, for their ongoing contributions to the success of the Jeju UNITAR center.

For more information about the work of UNITAR CIFAL-Jeju, visit www.cifaljeju.org.

Dr. Hilty is a cultural health psychologist from New York who has now made Jeju Island her home.

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