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Itaewon Global Village Festival reduces room for improvement

LOCAL AUTONOMY

To increase convenience for visitors

Itaewon Global Village Festival
reduces room for improvement

The 2013 Global Village Culture Festival started its two-day run in Itaewon in Seoul on Oct. 12, 2013 with the opening ceremony attended by Mayor Park Won-soon of the Seoul Special City, Mayor Sung Jang-Hyun of the Yongsan District, Commanding General Brig. Gen. Ryu Ji-young of the Service Support Group of the Ministry of National Defense and many other VIP guests from the Korean side. From the Seoul Diplomatic Corps came many ambassadors and other senior members, including Ambassador Ngovi Kitau of the Republic of Kenya. There also were Mayor Nguyen Van Dung of Qui Nhon City of Vietnam and other officials from the city that had a sisterhood relationship with Yongsan.

Mayor Sung Jang-hyun of Yongsan, Chairman Joo Jong-Ho of ISTZA and Ambassador Ngovi kitau of Kenya (left to right) speak at the Opening Ceremony of the 2013 Itaewon Global Village Festival on Oct. 12, 2013.

The organizers this year have obviously made special effort not to repeat the situation of last year when there were so many visitors that the invited ambassadors and other senior diplomats had difficulty to access the venue.

This year, a special arrangement was made for the ambassadors and other senior diplomats to make their access to the venue easier, including the spreading of a red carpet to the VIP tent from where the ambassadors and their senior diplomats alighted from their car.

There also was a lineup of senior officials of the District Government as well as leaders of the host organization (Itaewon Special Tourism Zone Association [ISTZA]) to greet each ambassador at the end of the carpet. Occasionally, Mayor Sung and Chairman Joo Jong-Ho of the ISTZA visited the VIP tent to make sure maximum extent of convenience was provided to the ambassadors and other senior diplomats.

The ambassadors and other senior diplomats then were invited to the reviewing stand in front of McDonald Food Store, from which they reviewed all the passing parade as well as their performances.

Leading the parade were the flag bearers of all the countries of the world, who were followed by the Joseon Dynasty Army Band of soldiers clad in yellow uniforms with flutes and drums, the Honor Guards of the Ministry of National Defense, and colorful costumes of many different countries of the world worn by the citizens of these countries in Korea, including Malaysia, Pakistan, Japan, Thailand and Indonesia.

Then there were demonstration of Taekwondo champions and fan dances presented by members of Hallyu Cultural Troupe.

After the parade, the ambassadors and other senior diplomats were invited to watch the opening ceremony performances at the main stage of the Festival at Noksapyeong Y-Junction.

The performers included Nanta drummers, Taepyongmu dancers, Samul Nori drummers, B-Boy and Fusion Korean Classic Music. The finale was presented by Korean top singer Tae Jin-a.

Mayor Sung of Yongsan District Government spoke to the guests welcoming the Korean and international guests who included ambassadors and mayors of sister cities of Vietnam. Sung said in part: “In the true sense of the Korean expression, Cheong Myeong (Clear and Balmy), we are blessed with clear blue skies and warm bright sunshine as if they congratulate us on the Opening Day of the Itaewon Global Village Festival today. The refreshing zephyr blowing between us reminds us of the presence of the fragrant autumn heralding that we will have our fill of carefree ambience all day today.” (See excerpts from Mayor Sung’s speech toward the end of this Article.)

From left: Chairman Joo Jong-Ho of the ISTZA; Ambassadors Vasyl Marmazov of Ukraine, Nikoloz Apkhazava of Georgia and Ngovi Kitau of Kenya; and Chairman Lee Kyung-sik of The Korea Post at a dinner reception at the Crown Hotel following the end of the Opening Ceremony.

It was followed by a welcome speech by Chairman Joo Jong-Ho of the ISTZA, who said, “Itaewon has the World Food Street where you can sample the traditional food and beverage of all the different countries of the world, the Antique Street which is becoming a new cultural area, the Rodeo Street which now leads the new fashions, and the Fashion Street of Hannam-dong. They are among the destinations attracting many Korean and international tourists.” (See excerpts from Chairman Joo’s speech at the end of this Article.)

Left: Ambassador Ngovi Kitau of Kenya (left) presents a Plaque of Appreciation to Mayor Sung Jang-Hyun of the Yongsang District of Seoul in appreciation of invitation of ambassadors and other members of the Seoul Diplomatic Corps to the Itaewon Global Village Festival. Right: Ambassador Ngovi kitau presents a Plaque of Appreciation also to Chairman Joo Jong-Ho of ISTZA.

Excerpts from the speech of Mayor Sung Jang-Hyun of Yongsan:
My dear 300,000 citizens of the Yongsan District, His Excellency Ambassador Ngovi Kitau of Kenya, Their Excellencies the Ambassadors of other countries and Madams, and the distinguished guests from various countries of the world as well as from Korea gracing this meeting!

In the true sense of the Korean expression, Cheong Myeong (Clear and Balmy), we are blessed with clear blue skies and warm bright sunshine as if they congratulate us on the Opening Day of the Itaewon Global Village Festival today. The refreshing zephyr blowing between us reminds us of the presence of the fragrant autumn heralding that we will have our fill of carefree ambience all day today.

I whole-heartedly congratulate the opening of the Itaewon Global Village Festival in this beautiful season at Itaewon where all the different cultures of the world co-exist, and which is filled with gusto and romance.

My profound gratitude goes to Chairman Joo Jong-ho of the Itaewon Special Tourism Zone Association, Chairman Kim Young-chul of the Organizing Committee of the Itaewon Global Village Festival and all the members of the Association, who have made great efforts in preparing this Festival. I am also very grateful to the Honorable Mayor Park Won-soon of the Seoul Special City who has provided us with financial and various other support, Yongsan Police Station Chief Mr. Woo Jong-soo and Director Ryu Ji-young of the Service Support Group of the Ministry of National Defense.

I also express my sincere appreciation to the Ambassadors of various countries of the world, Competent Secretary Phan Cao Thang (phonetic) of the Qui Nhon City of Vietnam, Mayor Nguyen Van Zung (phonetic) and their delegation members who are adding grace to this meeting. My deep appreciation also goes to the citizens of the Yongsan District, who are all heroes and heroines of this Festival and to all the visitors to Itaewon from every nook and corner of the country.

Young men and women from various countries of the world present a modern dance performance

All the distinguished guests present here today are witnessing the festive merger of Korea and the world and the tradition and modernity at this cultural and tourist destination named Itaewon. Itaewon, the venue of the Itaewon Global Village Festival, is the first ‘Special Tourism Zone’ of Seoul and a representative tourist destination of Korea, which is visited by more than 1.7 million in-bound tourists from overseas a year. On the strength of its long history, Itaewon will continue to enhance its image in the world as a tourist mecca and a cultural mecca.

Itaewon has many places filled with taste and romance. To name a few, here you have the Rodeo Fashion Street where you can enjoy various and special shopping, the World Food Street where you can sample all kinds of foods and beverage of the different countries of the world, the Antique Furniture Street that has a wide variety of antique furniture that boasts quaint characteristics and tastes, and then the Tree-lined Street of Hannam-dong of cafes of different characteristics and cultures. The cafes and clubs where you can feel the energy of the youth are not found anywhere else in Korea. They are unique attractions of Itaewon. They attract not only foreign visitors but also many Korean tourists.

Various countries were represented by colorful costumes at the Festival.

I am reminded of the wise-saying of Greek Philosopher Democritus that “life without festivals is a long journey without an inn.” What he meant here is that while we have a long journey named ‘life’ the festivals recharge energy into our life and provide us with new vitality and healthy excitement.

As you may have seen at the World Culture Street Parade of performing artists and troupes, we have many things to see and enjoy, including the Bukcheong Lion Dance that is the Intangible National Cultural Asset Number 15, which is rarely seen presented in Seoul.

Colorful costumes of Southeast Asian countries attracted the admiring attention from the Korean and international audience.

We also have an exhibition of institutions and customs of many different countries, including handicrafts, which were provided by the different embassies in Seoul. I am sure that they will provide you with a rare opportunity to learn the exotic and different traditions and cultures of the world.

I hope that all the visitors to the Festival will feel and enjoy all the different things of Itaewon through their five senses and better understand the neighbors of the Global Village. Throughout the two-day event, I hope that everyone will have one’s fill of friendship, laughter and fun with others-- regardless of difference in nationality and race--to turn Itaewon into a true venue of festivity.

Together with all the people who love Itaewon, we will try to develop the Itaewon Global Village Festival into a true festival of the global village where we can introduce the Korean tradition and taste.

Itaewon has now completed all the preparations and with a fluttering heart is ready to share its dream and hope with everyone. When it is time to sing, be one of the singers; when it is time to dance, why not be a dancer? Please have your fill of fun before you leave for home. I hope that the time you are having here right now will remain as your fondest memory forever. I hope that Itaewon will be perpetually remembered by all.

Lastly, I would like once more to express my heart-felt gratitude to all the people who have worked so hard for this Festival, and offer my prayers for the happiness and health for you and your family.

Thank you.
Excerpts from welcome speech Chairman Joo Jong-Ho of ISTZA:
Good afternoon! I am Chairman Joo Jong-ho of the Itaewon Special Tourism Zone Association.
Welcome Excellencies and Madams and other senior members of the Seoul Diplomatic Corps to the 2013 Itaewon Global Village Festival!

Welcome Korean dignitaries who have taken time out of their busy schedule to attend our Festival. I am immeasurably grateful to the Honorable Mayor Park Won-soon, President Lee Cham of Korean National Tourism Organization, Mayor Sung Jang-hyun of the Yongsan District, who have given us unreserved support and assistance for the successful preparation of the Festival, Chairman Park Suk-kyu of the Yongsan District Council and Yongsan Police Station Chief Woo Jong-soo who works hard for the security and order for the citizens of the Yongsan District.
I also express my deep appreciation to all the distinguished guests from foreign countries as well as fellow Koreans who have taken the trouble of attending this Festival to offer us their congratulations.

Distinguished guests from overseas as well as from Korean society! Itaewon, since it was designated as the Special Tourism Zone in 1997, has become a zone of harmony and festivity where tradition and modernity blends with each other as well as things Korean and things international. Thus, Itaewon attracts 6,000 tourists per day, making it an international shopping town for everyone.

Chairman Joo Jong-ho of ISTZA (left) shakes hands with Brig. Gen. Angel Gonzalez Castilo of Mexico.

Itaewon has the World Food Street where you can sample the traditional food and beverage of all the different countries of the world, the Antique Street which is becoming a new cultural area, the Rodeo Street which now leads the new fashions, and the Fashion Street of Hannam-dong. They are among the destinations attracting many Korean and international tourists.

To become the safest, crime-free, comfortable tourism town, Itaewon also has established a safety-security-service system organizing ‘Red Angels,” “Citizens’ Honorary Sheriffs” and “Tourism Police Officers.” Thus, the Itaewon Special Tourism Zone is doing its utmost to provide the international tourists with the maximum extent of safety, security and comfortable visit and stay.

Mayor Sung Jang-Hyun of Yongsan (left) claps hands with Ambassadors Dibaba Abdetta of Ethiopia (second from left), Vasyl Marmazov of Ukraine (behind Sung and Abdetta) and Tissa Wijeratne of Sri Lanka (right)

Distinguished Korean and international guests! Thanks to the kind interest and support from all the distinguished guests in attendance here, I am sure that the Itaewon Town and the Itaewon Special Tourism Zone will continue developing and flourishing. It is my ardent hope that the Itaewon Global Village Festival this year will prove a truly fruitful and most successful one and that we will all join hands to make the success of the Festival resound to all parts of the world.

I pray that the Itaewon Global Village Festival will continue to develop and grow until the day everyone of the entire world visits the Festival and cherish a pleasant memory. Lastly, I would like to express my deepest gratitude to the members of the Yongsan District Office, the Yongsan Police Station and all the volunteers who have rendered their unreserved support and assistance for the successful hosting of the Festival this year.

Joseon Dynasty honor guards present a martial art demonstration.

I sincerely wish that all the blessings of the autumn will go to every guest here at the Festival and to the families. Thank you.

Ambassadors and other senior members of the Diplomatic Corps attending the Festival include: Ambassadors Ngovi Kitau of Kenya, Tissa Wijeratne of Sri Lanka, Mohammad Yunos Farman of Afghanistan, Duishonkul Chotonov of Kyrgyzstan, Albino Malungo of Kyrgzstan, Vasyl Marmazov of Ukraine, Dibaba Abdetta of Ethiopia, Nikoloz Apkhazava of Georgia and Ramzi Teymurov of Azerbaijan (CDA). There also were Brigadier General Angel Gonzalez Castillo (Military and Air Attache) of Mexico, Deputy Head of Mission (DHM) Raja Ram Bartaula of Nepal and senior diplomats of many other countries.

There also were Counsellors Ute Katzsch-Egli of Germany, Guillermo Melgarejo of Paraguay, Muhanned Omer Ajabana of Sudan and Muhammad Humair Karim of Pakistan; and First Secretaries Mrs. Meeharika Singh of India and Raphael Musyoka of Kenya. There also were former President and Mrs. Alan Timblic of the Seoul City Global Center who was very active in the promotion of international cooperation between Seoul and the world cities while Mayor Oh Se-hoon was in office who was much more interested in international cooperation and interaction compared with the incumbent mayor from the opposition Democratic Party. k

이경식 기자  edt@koreapost.com

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