The Korea Escapade: My first international conference

12:00 AM

It’s been six (6) months since I traveled to the land of fashion and beauty, KOREA!! I committed that I will really write a good blog about my experience but I've been busy with work, school and burloloy stuff so my entry was far more delayed than usual! Anyway, my visit to Korea was really awesome and life-changing experience (ANSAVEH?!). I fall in love with Korea, with all the busy streets, fashionable and beautiful people, all I can say is, I will definitely go back there the soonest possible! (Chos!) 

Well, my travel to Korea was quite unexpected, but I guess, if it’s meant to be it’s meant to be! I was told by our Executive Director that I will join the delegation to Changwon, Korea to attend the 12th International Association for Educating Cities Congress (IAEC), imagine my surprise!!! I was the last minute participant but my visa was approved first! I really cannot contain my happiness because it was a dream come true to have Korea stamped on my passport first!! 

For the purposes of sharing my travel experiences, I will write three or four blog post; From the congress that I’ve attended in Changwon, to my first bullet train experience and of course to touring different streets in Seoul with my former Korean students Miniee and Jenny.

So let me start with my first out of the country international conference with the 12th International Congress of Educating Cities

Changwon City Mayor Park Wan Su addressing the delegates of the 12th IAEC Conference

The 12th International Congress of Educating Cities "Green Environment, Creative Education" took place in the Changwon (Republic of Korea) Convention Center from April 26 to 29 2012. For the first time, an Asian country was chosen to host the event, which is such a privilege to Changwon City. 

IAEC is an international organization composed of group of cities with a common goal of working together on projects and activities for improving the quality of life of their inhabitants on the basis of their active involvement in the use and evolution of the city itself and according to the approved Educating Cities Charter.

More than 2,000 representatives from city councils, national bodies, embassies, and technical staff specialized in the field from more than 40 countries participated in the event. A total of 136 delegates from the Philippines participated in the event which was composed of  city and municipal mayors and officials, the LMP Secretariat and the LCP Secretariat. 

Of special note was the participation of the Prime Minister of the Republic of Korea, Mr HwangSik Kim, the Governor of South Gyeongsang, Mr Dukwan Kim and the Mayor of Changwon, Mr Park Wan Su, in the Opening Ceremony of the Congress.

Prime Minister of the Republic of Korea, Mr HwangSik Kim
The Congress theme was structured in the following 3 thematic areas namely:

  1. Policies, Green Urban Planning and Sustainable Infrastructure in Educating Cities. 
  2. Inclusive Governance, Social Justice, Community Empowerment and Capacity Building in Educating Cities. 
  3. Green Economy, Green Jobs, and Green Energy System and Technologies in Educating Cities.
Mr. Kim Shinil, Professor Emeritus, Seoul National University, Korea

The discussion of Prof. Kim Shin-il was one of my favorite. His discussion focused on the integration of green environment and development. According to him, this can be achieved through harmony between humanity and nature in Urban Planning. 

Conference Proper in CECO, Changwon, Korea

At the Conference
Another highlight of the event was the cultural showcase from the booth presentations and the cultural nights. I am proud that I was able to assemble the booth for the Philippines. Of course this will not be possible without the help of Kuya Alvin and Kuya Blady. I can proudly say that Philippines had one of the most colorful booths in the conference. 

Me while fixing the booth

The finish product
 Other booths

Cultural Shows

 a Korean itinerant troupe which consists of male performers who present various stunts such as acrobatics, dancing and playing like circus

Korean Fan Dance

But what was really memorable was the new friendships that we were able to create during the conference. We were lucky because we met very kind Korean people in the persons of Hye Ran Choi, Leslie An and her mother who volunteered for our booth and our very helpful liaison officers Beom Hee Jo and Sungho Lee. If not for them, we have not survive the conference, with our very demanding job doing the ushering of mayors, documenting the event and marketing for the Philippines.  

With our volunteers Hye ran, Leslie and her mother

With our liaison officres Beom Hee Jo and Sungho Lee
So there you go! That caps off the conference. For my next entry, I will feature some of the places in Changwon City and my first hand experience of riding a bullet train. Hopefully I'll be able to document my Korea Escapade before the sembreak ends! AJA! :) 

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