The 2014 World Korean Community Leaders Convention was held from Oct. 7 to 9 at the Grand Hilton Seoul. Organized by Overseas Koreans Foundation (OKF), Korean community leaders and about 400 executives from 80 countries attended under the slogan, “Proud World Koreans, You are the Republic of Korea.”
The opening ceremony began with a keynote speech by Park Gwan-yong, chairman of the National Development Institute with the theme, “Proud Korean,” mentioning the pain from the suffering and division of the Korean Peninsula, and how amazing Korean people are for quickly overcoming the situation and achieving the substantial amount of growth and development. The Korean community leaders were then divided according to nine regions (Europe, Africa and Middle East, North America, Japan, Central and South America, Russia and Commonwealth of Independent States, China, Asia, and Oceania) to discuss ways to strengthen the network among organizations built upon overseas Korean associations.
The opening ceremony was highlighted by President Park Geun-hye and about 800 guests. President Park awarded government prizes to seven overseas Koreans who made great contribution to national rights and interests, and encouraged Korean community leaders and overseas Koreans.
Cho Kyu-hyung, chairman of the OKF, defined the World Korean Community Leaders Convention as “The representation of interchange and communication among overseas Koreans, which the community leaders gather and help strengthen overseas Korean networks, and discuss the ways to improve the Korean communities through developing overseas Korean communities and building bonds with the mother country.”
Lee Dong-woo, the regional president of the Oceania Korean Association and this year’s convention leader, gave the opening speech at the opening ceremony. With joint convention leader Yim Do-jae of Africa and the Middle East Korean Association, they delivered a 25 million won (US$23,555) scholarship fund raised by Korean community leaders to the Korean Student Aid Foundation.
Around 400 Korean community leaders from 80 countries adopted six resolutions including supporting government efforts for building the foundation for peace and unification of the Korean Peninsula, actively participating in stimulating the creative economy, requesting a law and regulation amendment to improve the investment condition of overseas Koreans to Korea, and opposing the relocation of the OKF office to Jeju Island. Also, to better teach the next generation the Korean language, history, and culture, they also requested governmental support.
In the closing ceremony, a Proud Korean Award ceremony was held. The Bali Korean Association of Indonesia was selected as the Best Korean Association, and the Cape Town Korean Association of South Africa and Dalian Ethnic Korean Businessmen Association came in at second place.
Chairman Cho of the OKF said in the farewell speech, “The conclusion, which came from the discussion in this convention, will greatly contribute to the development of the Korean community, and the OKF will provide undivided support to the Korean community to help achieve their goals.”
Lee Kyeong-jong, the regional president of Russia and CIS Korean Association and Lee Sook-soon, the president of China Korean Association, were selected as the joint convention leaders for next year’s event.