The Korea Herald


Campaign searches for new home for Gwangju International Center

By Korea Herald

Published : April 23, 2013 - 20:12

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Gwangju International Center is about to be made homeless, and members of the local community are busy raising funds to find it a new home.

The center’s current location, the Jeonil Building near Culture Complex Station, is being demolished by Gwangju City to make way for a park.

GIC coordinator Karina Prananto said the center would prefer to remain in the downtown area to ensure that it was easy to reach, but they also hoped to have a big enough space to expand their community programs.

The center is a key meeting point for the expat and Korean communities in Gwangju, providing cultural activities, tours and talks while also providing counseling and education for expats to help them settle here.

“GIC serves not only as the home base for most (of the) English-speaking community in Gwangju, but also as a tourism information center especially for newcomers to the city,” said Prananto. “We help promote cultural understanding with the locals as well as help voice out the community’s concern to the relevant organizations and Gwangju City to improve facilities and conveniences for the international residents.”

Prananto said the center hoped to raise 40 million won ($35,000) through these efforts, with 30 million won going to pay for the new space, 5 million won on costs and the remainder on new equipment.

The biggest event is the Save GIC event, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the Jeonil building on May 4, an outdoor event that will include music performances, a bake sale, a flea market and an auction.

The week after, there is a concert on May 12 to raise funds.

The GIC May Concert is an annual program, and Prananto said that the money raised at the event had in the past gone to help developing countries or NGOs, but would this year help pay for the GIC move.

“The musicians are our board members. This year it will be a bit different as we will also invite several international musicians as well,” she said, saying that the music would be a classical-jazz hybrid.

Other events include a collaboration with the Beautiful Store on May 5 on the city’s Art Street, a sports event in mid-May and Morning Trek Tours led by Warren Parsons who leads the center’s monthly GIC Culture Tours.

The Morning Treks will scale Mudeungsan Mountain on May 4 and 11.

Prananto said they were looking for volunteers to help with the flea market by donating or selling, organizing and running the auction, help with bake sales, and promotion and translation help.

For more information on the efforts to save the center, visit

By Paul Kerry (