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'Jeju, meet the future'Jeju Forum C launches a comprehensive program
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승인 2011.05.06  15:24:43
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▲ Shin Gu-beom and Koh Hee-bum. Photo supplied by Jeju Forum C

Determining the future of a society is no small task.

Societies are at their best when developed in a democratic and inclusive way which recognizes the inherent wisdom of all members. On a foundation built by elders and infused with the ideas and enthusiasm of the young, a robust society emerges.

This is the quest of Jeju Forum C.

Now in its second year, the NGO – built on the premise of “Change, Challenge, and Communication” – has launched a comprehensive program to contribute to the determination of Jeju's future.

In the organization's first year, it held a series of lectures and field outings to help improve Jeju's residents' awareness of their island. Included were such diverse topics as economics, politics, history, natural beauty and traditional customs.

Building on that basis, Jeju Forum C has begun a multi-part program. Part I, “Find the Way of Elders,” seeks to develop a pool of wisdom on a variety of topics in lectures delivered by Jeju's “elders” – those who have been or currently are in positions of leadership.

“Some, even those invited to speak, questioned 'why elders?' as they feel that the youth of Jeju should be the ones to take our society's development forward,” expressed representative Koh Hee-bum.

Without elders, however, a tribe is also without roots – just as without a knowledge of history we are doomed to repeat it. As Koh acknowledged, Jeju can learn not only from the success of its leaders but also from their failures.

The series of lectures will take place every Wednesday evening at 7 p.m. in the Donam-dong area of Gu-Jeju at the Chamber of Commerce. The series began on April 20, and three lectures have been held at the time of this publication. Lectures will continue through July 6.

▲ Photo supplied by Jeju Forum C

All speakers have held positions of leadership in Jeju. They include three ex-governors, three ex-members of Council, a former Superintendent of Educational Affairs, three ex-presidents of Jeju National University, and two former members of the Chamber of Commerce.

The program's first speaker was ex-governor Shin Gu-beom, who has recently joined the protest of Gangjeong naval base construction. The upcoming lecture, scheduled for May 11, will be delivered by Kim Young Hoon, former Chief of Council as well as former chairman of Jeju's 4.3 Truth Commission.

It is critically important to the efforts of Jeju Forum C, however, not only to include the wisdom of society leaders but also the knowledge of its citizens.

Part II of this program, “Find the Way of Actors,” will take place in the second half of this year. Tradespeople, manufacturers, farmers, fishermen, business owners, and others will give presentations in order to contribute practical wisdom.

The program's Part III, “Find Together the Future of Jeju,” will take place early next year. By integrating the wisdom of elders and the practical knowledge of workers, specialists will offer their critical review of the options for Jeju's future development.

The organization will publish an interim report based on the above findings, after which it will hold a series of “Town Hall Meetings” in sites throughout Jeju to facilitate open discussion.

Jeju Forum C expects to publish a final report on “The Future of Jeju” by early 2013, in time for Jeju Island's next gubernatorial election which is slated for the following year.

In this way, the NGO hopes to help pave the way to Jeju's future – and to contribute to a new model of leadership.

Dr. Hilty is a cultural health psychologist.

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