Big names join hands for unification

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Big names join hands for unification

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A group of literary, media and political heavyweights celebrate the launch of private charity group, 1090 Peace and Unification Campaign, yesterday at the Korea Press Center in central Seoul. The organization is dedicated to providing humanitarian aid for North Korea and education programs on unification. In the front row are the group’s three co-executives Lee Young-sun (fourth from left), Lee Bae-yong (center), Baek Young-chul (fourth from right) and the JoongAng Ilbo Chairman Hong Seok-hyun (far right). By Park Jong-keun

A group of high-profile figures yesterday launched a nonprofit organization, 1090 Peace and Unification Campaign, to initiate projects aimed at providing humanitarian aid and promoting cultural exchange programs with North Korea.

Under the mission of raising awareness about the Korean Peninsula’s peace and unification in a wide range of age groups from teens to those in their 90s, the group will be led by Chairman Lee Young-sun, former dean of Hallym University in Gangwon and co-executive Baek Young-chul, professor emeritus at Konkuk University.

“Although tensions are high between the Koreas, it is meaningful to launch a private group dedicated to advocating unification at the time of transition and change,” said Lee during an event held at the Korea Press Center in Gwanghwamun, central Seoul.

“We seek to offer humanitarian aid to vulnerable people such as pregnant women and children in a transparent way,” said Baek. “We will also hold a seminar with regional experts studying countries like North and South Korea, the United States and China.”

The education project also represents a core task of the organization. It is scheduled to hold a range of lectures on unification, peace and nation branding.

Lee Bae-yong, former head of the Presidential Council on National Branding, will be invited as a speaker for one of those events.

For the younger generation, it will offer an open forum dubbed “Unification Talk Concert” where North Korean defectors, experts on the North and South Korean university students will share their thoughts on unification.

The advisory board consists of Han Gwang-ok, former chief of staff to late President Kim Dae-jung, and Hong Seok-hyun, chairman of the JoongAng Ilbo.

“The organization has been formed after nine months of preparation. Tensions remain high on the third anniversary of the Cheonan’s sinking, but it is still necessary to prepare for unification, which is destined to come,” said Hong in his congratulatory speech.

In celebration of the charity’s launch, the SaRang Community Church, captain Seok Hae-kyun, who was rescued from Somali hijackers in 2011, and Doctor Lee Guk-jong of Ajou University Medical Center, who treated Seok, all donated money.


By Lee Young-jong [ejpark@joongang.co.kr]

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