[LETTERS TO THE EDITOR]Volunteers create bondsIt was VSO (Voluntary Service Overseas) that was initially founded as a volunteer organization in England in 1958. And it was the American Peace Corps that has dispatched the most volunteers overseas, sending 6,678 persons to 70 countries by the year 2003.
Compared to advanced countries, Korea was quite late in dispatching volunteers overseas. KOV (Korea Overseas Volunteers) was founded in 1990 and dispatched 44 volunteers to four countries: Nepal, Indonesia, the Philippines and Sri Lanka.
The following year in 1991, KOICA (Korea International Cooperation Agency) was formally established with the objective of promoting international cooperation with the aid of developing countries by contributing to their economic and social development.
Korea, now as a non-permanent member of the Security Council of the United Nations, has the added obligation to play a more positive role in international relations, especially with its accession to the OECD. However, Korean people in general do not quite understand the concept of development cooperation due to the nation’s relatively limited experience taking part in international cooperation.
For this reason, it is important for Korean citizens to recognize the overseas volunteer programs offered, ranging from human resources development to socioeconomic development. I’m very proud to have been selected as a member of KOV and I’m anticipating the moment I will be able to teach Korean in Thailand.
My family and I hold unforgettable relationships with Thailand and its people. When I was commissioned as the director of the Bangkok office for the Korea National Tourism Organization in 1982, we lived there for more than 10 years. During our stay in Thailand, we were deeply grateful for Thai friends.
I believe that the assignment to teach Korean to Thai people this time is surely a reward that should be given back to them in return. I’m now full of aspirations and hope to do my best for enhancing mutual relationships between Korea and Thailand through cultural exchange, considering that language is a part of a nation’s culture.
It is strongly recommended that we actively join the overseas volunteer programs in order to build a human society in which we can live together in a harmonious environment.
by Lee Woo-Chul