New NGO to promote Saemaul model globally

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New NGO to promote Saemaul model globally

A group of scholars, activists and government officials on Wednesday launched an international nongovernmental organization to promote Korea’s development model of the Saemaul Movement.

The organization, tentatively named the Global Saemaul Development Network (GSDN), encompasses 50 countries and five international organizations, including the United Nations and the World Bank.

The Saemaul Movement, also known as the New Community Movement, an initiative to modernize Korea’s rural economy, was launched in 1970 by President Park Chung Hee, the late father of President Park Geun-hye.

The official launch of the GSDN was announced on the final day of a three-day international forum on the Saemaul Movement in Gyeongju, North Gyeongsang, which was attended by about 600 people from 60 countries.

At the event, Yeungnam University Vice President Choi Oe-chool was elected as the GSDN’s founding chairman. A nine-member board of directors, which includes Choi, was also established. The organization aims to promote the Saemaul Movement model in developing countries worldwide. Education programs, research projects and consulting services will be offered to eradicate poverty and spur prosperity, the GSDN said.

“The Saemaul Movement has gone beyond Korea’s experience of compressed development within a short period of time,” Choi said. “It is now serving as a shared resource for the people in developing nations.”

The new chairman vowed to lead the GSDN in fighting poverty across the international community and opening up a new path for Korea’s future generation.

Former Prime Minister Chung Hong-won expressed his support for the GSDN’s initiative in his keynote speech at the forum. “For the prosperity of the global community, we need to more actively and aggressively implement the spirit of the Saemaul Movement and share it,” he said. “An international organization to carry out the mission is crucial.”

BY SER MYO-JA [ser.myoja@joongang.co.kr]

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