[Letters] The true prize we won at Y20 SummitOur Y20 journey started in early April. Covering the diverse and complicated topics the G-20 would normally cover was difficult but it gave us unforgettable memories of tough yet exhilarating times. Representing the IMF as a Korean with knowledge of past IMF actions in the late 1990s was intriguing and helpful. It helped me understand the global economy.
The IMF was the punching bag of the Y20 because it is in the G-20. We were the center of attention and got attacked multiple times. We were busy explaining how we were not perfect and how we will further improve ourselves. We also learned the complexity and necessity of this international institution. We were proud to represent the IMF.
We were greatly excited as June 24 and 25 approached, which were the two dates for the finance ministers’ meeting. Along with both excitement and anxiety about our preparation, we were also touched by the generosity of the Joongang Ilbo, which provided us with a chance to actually go to Busan’s BEXCO, where the G-20 Summit met before.
On the first day we were to arrive at the hotel and have a quick lunch, then dress in formal wear and walk five minutes to BEXCO for the first session of the finance ministers’ meeting. Four of our team members were present, so we divided out tasks. The two in the front with the microphone were Jung-won, who was in charge of most of the speaking, and Sun-young, who was in charge of Web searching with a laptop. At the back, Soo-hyun used messenger services to send us the real-time summary of speeches, while Su-bin sat beside her and took notes on the discussion. Our interactive teamwork was efficient and effective, acting as the crucial factor for our team’s final glory.
After the dinner party and another vigorous unofficial discussion at the first-floor guest lounge, we were totally exhausted. But we couldn’t just leave without hitting the beach! So the IMF team submitted the next day’s outline in a flash and went to Haeundae beach.
When we returned to Seoul, the Y20 divided into four working groups with different topics. Each working group had approximately 15 countries to participate in their discussion and we participated in all four of the working groups.
Finally on Aug. 24th and 25th, the Y20 Summit began. The meeting should have been easy because the official schedule asked us to finish most of the discussion on the first day, but the Y20 meeting was challenging until the very end. Discussions were lengthened by many hours and although the official sessions ended at 6 p.m., all delegates relocated to McDonalds and continued the discussion late into the night.
The most important discussion at the summit was about reforming the IMF. Passionate participants made the discussion intense and the delegates had to be reminded to keep their diplomatic manners. By the time the final communique was announced, we were drained and exhausted but we still had smiles left for the cameras.
In the meeting of delegations from the 20 countries and three international organizations, existing interstate conflicts were reflected in the behavior of delegates. We came in third place at the summit but the true prizes we won was trust in each other, passion for real world conflicts and dedication to finding the best possible solution followed by deep commitment.
Choi Hee-nam, Eun Soo-yong, Kim Su-bin, Whang Sun-young, Yoon Jung-won, Yu Soo-hyun from the IMF team at the Y20 Summit