[Letters] Korea to share the spirit and know-how

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[Letters] Korea to share the spirit and know-how

When a devastating earthquake struck Haiti on January 12, 2010, Koreans raised over 20 million dollars in a month. KOICA, the Korea International Cooperation Agency, sent emergency medical support and rescue teams while promising to provide 10 million dollars on economic infrastructure construction.

At present, Korea is assisting with electric power recovery, building schools and vocational training centers. The Ministry of Defense has dispatched Danbi Division, mostly composed of military engineers, as a part of the UN Forces to help with the reconstruction work.

Korean NGOs, including Korea Food for the Hungry International, Good Neighbors, and Precious People, have participated in the reconstruction projects. Sae-a Trading Company is building a sewing factory in the industrial complex to the north, and when it is completed by the end of the year, it will hire 20,000 workers. Koreans are considered dear friends and supporters in Haiti.

Last year, when I was serving in Haiti, I had a chance to meet with President Michel Martelly of Haiti and present the development that Korea had accomplished and the operation of KOICA. President Martelly was interested in the growth of Korea from the poorest country in the world to the host of the G20 summit in one generation. He hoped to model after Korea and push for an economic revolution.

Per his request, I gave a lecture to over 300 key Haitian figures on August 10, 2011, with a title, “Korea’s Growth and the Lessons for Haiti.” The lecture was broadcast on national television four times, and Haitian daily newspaper Le Nouvelliste spared two pages for its appearance in the December 7th issue. As Haitians are increasingly aware of the economic accomplishment Korea has attained, many are eager to learn Korean language these days.

Korea has grown from a country that receives aid to a country that provides assistances, and the contemporary history of Korea is not just a success story we take pride in but a dream for all developing countries. We need to keep in mind that it is the duty of Korea to share the spirit and know-how with all developing countries in the 21st century.


Song In-yeup, chief representative of the Korea International Cooperation Agency, Haiti Office

*Letters and commentaries for publication should be addressed “Letters to the Editor.” E-mailed letters should be sent to eopinion@joongang.co.kr.
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