Honorary citizenship given to 17 foreigners

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Honorary citizenship given to 17 foreigners


Seoul Mayor Oh Se-hoon - center, in black - and honorary citizenship winners at a ceremony on Oct. 28 at the Sejong Center for the Performing Arts. [YONHAP]

An Austrian who became the first foreign doctor to practice Oriental medicine in Korea and an American resident in Seoul who has actively campaigned to preserve traditional homes are among 17 individuals who were granted honorary citizenship during a ceremony hosted by the Seoul Metropolitan Government on Oct. 28. Raimund Royer, medical director of the international clinic of the Jaseng Hospital of Oriental Medicine in Seoul, was acknowledged for his ceaseless efforts to bring Korean Oriental medicine to the world.

Peter Bartholomew, managing director of the consulting firm IRC, is credited for helping save old neighborhoods featuring traditional homes - or hanok - from urban redevelopment projects, Seoul officials said. Aside from his day job, Bartholomew is also president of the local branch of the Royal Asiatic Society, an organization that preserves Korea’s heritage.

Fifteen other foreigners were also awarded honorary citizenship for their contributions to Korean society. They include Didier Beltoise, the French general manager of the Grand InterContinental Seoul and COEX InterContinental Seoul, as well as Pankaj Mohan, an Indian scholar of Korean history who teaches Korean studies at the University of Sydney. Beltoise is credited with hosting events to raise Seoul’s image as an attractive destination for international tourists.

Hans-Alexander Kneider, the honorary head of the Seongbuk Multicultural Village Center and also a German professor at Hankuk University of Foreign Studies, received the honorary award for improving living standards of expatriates in Seongbuk District.

In an effort to promote Seoul’s international exchange efforts with foreign countries, the city’s government started granting honorary citizenship in 1958 for foreigners dedicated to the development of Korea’s capital city.

So far, 649 foreigners, including this year’s 17 recipients, were appointed honorary citizens.

Previous recipients include Guus Hiddink, former coach of the Korean national soccer team during the 2002 FIFA World Cup; Christopher Hill, former U.S. ambassador to Seoul; and movie star Jackie Chan.

“Thanks to honorary Seoul citizens who are active in different fields - economy, history, culture and others - Seoul was able to raise its brand and international urban competitiveness,” Seoul Mayor Oh Se-hoon said.

By Kim Mi-ju [mijukim@joongang.co.kr]
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