[Letters] The year of the ‘good partner’

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[Letters] The year of the ‘good partner’

In the year 2010 South Korea hosts unusually many international events, including the Group of 20 summit in November and a series of forums sponsored by the government, local municipalities, research institutions and the press.

There will also be many global conferences in the same year that could then be renamed as the “year of events.” Perhaps, this experience will be a chance for us to mature and for South Korea to be more recognized in this globalized society. To attain such goals, targets and schemes of year 2010 need to be set.

The world requires a healthy cooperation model at this very moment to rebound from the current financial crisis. At the same time, it’s monitoring accomplishments of Korea very closely.

Because South Korea has undergone economic transition there exists confidence toward South Korea’s role as a mediator between developing countries and advanced countries. Likewise, we have to find a concrete course by ourselves to evolve amidst the United States, Japan and China.

For such efforts, why don’t we set our campaign for 2010 as a “2010 Good Partner, Republic of Korea!” in order to portray our deeds to become an exceptional colleague globally.

I am strongly convinced that if we obey a few basic “global minimums” during those international events under such aims, we will be able to elevate the national brand power of Korea.

First of all, let’s be more interested in various thoughts and arguments of the global village. In order for chairing these events to be well assessed, purpose and themes have to be decided reflecting an international perspective instead of a Korean perspective: a precisely expected outcome is a must.

Nevertheless, leadership can be executed only when distinct Korean values and solutions are introduced to possible disputes. Here, exertion of the mass media becomes very important.

For instance, the Guardian and The Huffington Post, the most influential politics news blog, actively led issues at the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen held in November last year.

Second, let these events be more customer-oriented affairs. There are particular instances at which I frown at some conferences held in Korea: dialogues in Korean while there are many foreign panels, meaningless ceremonies focusing only on government officials and no continuity in the same forum between the first and second times.

Aforementioned cases occur when organizing committees lack definite objectives toward their international events. It’s common sense that when one invites a guest to one’s home, one needs to be aware of the purpose of the invitation and the guest’s likes and dislikes.

One then has to serve one’s guest sincerely. Before talking about global standards, we need to abide strictly by the global minimum.

Third, let’s find specific examples related to efforts to become a good partner. The success, or the failure, of Korea’s chairing various international events this year depends on how the global media portrays the nation. Ideas of which media cover which stories have to be prepared from the planning stages.

Focusing on mutual concerns of the international society, South Korea has to find stories of its traditional values, passion, challenges and innovation as a good partner.

In addition, we have to publicize consistently our desire and efforts to become a good partner to globalized society. Instead of making new brands by arguing over which words - such as “Korea” and “Sparkling” - are more suitable for a tourism campaign, a solid coherent communication message will prove to be much more effective and efficient.

Finally, a national brand is a promise by which all citizens are required to abide. The national brand will not automatically advance itself after a few successfully hosted international conventions. An event does not have any meaning, if even we the citizens aren’t quite interested in it. Sharing knowledge of objectives and communicating for participation are the priorities.

If we execute those international conventions with all citizens’ attention, thorough preparations and consideration toward guests, 2010 will be the “year of redefining South Korea as a good partner in international society,” instead of the mere “year of events.”

Park Yeong-suk, chief executive officer,

Fleishman-Hillard Korea
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