NATIONAL

Lee, volunteers celebrate accomplishments

By 이선영
  • Published : May 23, 2011 - 19:27
  • Updated : May 23, 2011 - 19:27
President lauds World Friends Korea, stresses aid to developing countries


Korean volunteers celebrated the accomplishments they have made abroad in the brand of World Friends Korea on Monday.

In a ceremony at Cheong Wa Dae, they also vowed to widen their assistance and aid to developing countries.

“Already nearly 4,500 Koreans are volunteering in lots of countries, wearing the logos of World Friends Korea,” Park Dae-won, president of Korea International Cooperation Agency, said at the event.
President Lee Myung-bak (third from right) and First Lady Kim Yoon-ok (second from right) meet volunteers and officials of World Friends Korea programs at Cheong Wa Dae on Monday. (Yonhap News)

“They are planting hope in developing countries by sharing Korea’s own experience of a rise from rags to riches, thereby helping raise Korea’s image in the world,” he said.

KOICA is the state-run agency which oversees government grants and a variety of aid programs to underdeveloped countries.

The ceremony on Monday was attended by President Lee Myung-bak, diplomatic envoys, officials from non-governmental organizations and large companies as well as participants of volunteer programs.

World Friends Korea was launched in 2009 as a unified brand representing all Korean volunteers working overseas in a wide range of aid programs operated by different government ministries, including KOICA.

It was named as such in the hope that Korean volunteers would be “friends for those in need around the world.”

In one program, the Ministry of Knowledge and Economy dispatches retired people to developing countries to share their knowledge and experience in areas where Korea has advanced systems and technologies, such as public services and traffic system.

From this year on, the name will also be given to those participating in programs run by non-governmental agencies and private companies.

“Volunteers of World Friends Korea are contributing to raising Korea’s status in the international communities as a responsible and respectable nation, by spreading the values of sharing, love and peace, which are deeply ingrained in Korean culture,” said Lee Bae-yong, chairwoman of the Presidential Council on National Branding.

In relation with the Monday’s ceremony, a photo exhibition is being held at Sarangchae, a presidential museum at the presidential office. The event is designed to show the growth of Korea from an aid recipient to a donor nation and various good activities the country is carrying out across the globe. The exhibition is free and open daily till the end of May.

By Lee Sun-young (milaya@heraldcorp.com)