First global Saemaul forum kicks off

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First global Saemaul forum kicks off

The first Global Saemaul Leadership Forum (GSLF) kicked off yesterday at Saemaul Undong Central Training Institute (SMU) in Seongnam, Gyeonggi, with 450 officials from 38 countries in attendance.

Representatives at the event each shared their individual successes in modeling their rural development programs on Korea’s Saemaul Movement, which the government implemented in early 1970 when the South was still reeling from the aftereffects of the war. The movement was intended to encourage farmers and provincial residents to modernize their villages through a can-do spirit at a time when Korean society was still struggling with poverty and citizens were flocking to urban areas to work.

Delegates and related officials from Laos, Myanmar, Mongolia, the Philippines, Uganda, Tanzania, Rwanda and Ethiopia all provided presentations to elaborate on how they had effectively modeled their initiatives after the movement.

The Rwandan village of Gihogwe was among the examples. With a population of 1,200, it cultivated an abandoned wetland into a paddy field through the cooperation of its residents. Now, the village children no longer have to walk 1 kilometer (0.6 miles) to collect water thanks to the new supply facilities.

The forum was organized by the Korea Saemaul Undong Center and the Ministry of Security and Public Administration to support developing countries in improving living conditions and eradicating poverty.

“The Saemaul Movement had its basis in mutual cooperation between the government and citizens,” said Chong Jong-sup, the security and public administration minister. “It became a community-growth model and movement that international society wants to reference.”

Visiting officials tomorrow will tour North Chungcheon, North Jeolla and North Gyeongsang, where they will talk with senior leaders of the movement.


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