On a peaceful escape away from a dense forest of concrete apartments, I look out the window, surrounded by the emerald sea in Jeju. It was a paradise for someone from a busy urban area. Jeju is truly a paradise for busy urbanites. Like Jeju, society needs to put a stop to everything from time to time. Jeju provides such a paradise in order to do this. A visit to the island is a chance to fill our hearts. On Jeju Island, people can not only find inner peace, but also study and discuss for peace. The global world is a circle, a hoop without a start or end. Jeju allows people to experience this concept and provide ideas on how peace for all can be achieved. Let’s learn how Jeju help us find peace.
JEJU, the island of peace and prosperity
“The Jeju Forum: for peace and prosperity” is a regional multilateral dialogue where gathered leaders and specialists from around the world discuss sustainable peace and prosperity in Asia. Hosted by the Government of Jeju Special Self-Governing Province with the support of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Korea, the forum was launched in 2001 as Jeju Peace Forum. Many people view Jeju only as a travel destination, but it is actually more important as the place for establishing and managing peace. The Korean government also designated Jeju the ‘Island of World Peace’. Under this title, Jeju has hosted various events and is home to various peace-related organizations including the Jeju Peace Institute, which is committed to building peace on the Korean Peninsula and in East Asia. Jeju Peace Forum has operated as an annual event since 2011. It is held each May, and there are more than 60 sessions at the event including plenary sessions and various networking opportunities. The Jeju Forum offers eminent speakers from around the world the opportunity to discuss common values, thereby providing a great deal of insights to the world.
This year, the 14th Jeju Forum was held at International Convention Center Jeju (ICC JEJU) over three days, May 29 to 31. The main agenda themes were peace, prosperity, sustainability, diversity, and a global Jeju. Under these themes, the conference also included the sub-theme: “Asia Towards Resilient Peace: Cooperation and Integration”. The Forum Secretariat operates a group of field operation supporters and a college student press corps to provide students with an opportunity to participate in. Two SMT reporters applied to the Forum as volunteer college student press corps because academic journals from various media platforms are able to participate in the entire forum after a selection process. After completing the pre-registration process, reporters departed for Jeju Island with the excitement of spending three days away from the big city and learning about peace efforts.
SMT in JEJU
The official schedule for the first day of the Jeju Forum began in earnest at 1:30 p.m. SMT reporters arrived at ICC JEJU earlier than expected. The event place was crowded with people and journalists from all over the world. There was a pleasant tension in the minds of SMT reporters as they looked around. After a short break, the person in charge provided reporters with backpacks that contained a program book and a blue name tag labeled PRESS, which was the same as professional journalists’. Before the official conference sessions began, the press corps had a brief meeting. Once the meeting ended, reporters were free to attend sessions and do each reporting according to their own schedules. SMT reporters created their own timetable by selecting sessions they were interested in because sessions were held consecutively during the three-day schedule. At 1:30 p.m, SMT reporters moved to their first session. The first session chosen by the reporters was on the topic of “International Cooperation on Space - Focusing on the Asia Pacific Region”. Each session had a translator who provided simultaneous interpretation, thereby ensuring that all attendees could understand the content of the discussion without difficulty. The session pointed out that while a number of other nations in the world viewed space development as highly important, Korea's investment in space exploration is relatively small. Therefore, during the session, Mr. Mcintosh Garvey, NASA’s Regional Representative, and Korean experts discussed plans and means of promoting cooperation for future space development in Korea.
On the second day of the Forum, a plenary session was held, and it included the opening ceremony. Before the start of the plenary session, Harvard University Professor Graham Allison and Senior Fellow at Cambridge University Martin Jacques held book signing for their books Destined for War and When China Rules the World, respectively. Despite the early book signing event, participants, including students, came excitedly to the signing. After the book signing, the plenary session began with Professor Allison and Researcher Jacques. At this session, speakers talked about Thucydides’s Trap, a concept discussed in Allison’s book. During the talk, his questions: “Will Kim return to ICBM tests that could give North Korea a reliable capability to conduct nuclear attacks on the American homeland? If he does, will Trump act on his threat to attack North Korea’s launch sites? In response, will North Korea attack Seoul? If it does, will that lead to a second Korean War? And where would that war end?” were the most impressive to the reporters. After the plenary session, the Jeju Forum held its opening ceremony. After the opening address of Won Heeryong, Governor of Jeju, Forum sessions began in earnest, attracting a lot of participants.
Jeju Forum came to an end on day three. SMT took part in the day’s plenary session titled “Making Cities Resilient: The Role of Cooperation and Leadership”. Helen Clark, former Prime Minister of New Zealand, invited the audience to ask questions. SMT asked about the future of women’s universities, but unfortunately, time ran out and she was unable to respond to the query. Nevertheless, SMT were really impressed with her courage and achievement as a female. After that session, reporters went to the special session “The Role of Art and Culture to Promote Peace and Reconciliation”. Among this session’s speakers, Photographer Choi Byungkwan, who spent 2 years taking photos of the DMZ, mentioned that his exhibition, centered on the DMZ, was currently showing at the plaza of ICC JEJU. Among the works he discussed, reporters were impressed with the photograph of tears of the displaced. After visiting Choi’s exhibition, SMT went to the JDC Peace Concert, the finale of the Jeju Forum. The children choir, Contempodivo, a group that creates music using only their vocals without background music, Beatboxer Mighty, and Zion T performed under the theme of Jeju Forum.
For peace and prosperity
Through the Jeju Forum, SMT reporters had many experiences. Just like professional journalists, SMT could feel the true role of being a member of the PRESS by taking pictures and recording happenings at the Jeju Forum. With the reporting by journalists, Jeju Forum was a success with great discussions. Also, it gave people the chance to view the beauty of Jeju Island. With each passing year, the Jeju Forum grows as a global forum on peace, attracting not only experts from around the world but also ordinary people concerned about world peace. The Jeju Forum is open to any and all. Sookmyungians, how about marking your calendar for the Jeju Forum in 2020?
Kim Shin Hyerin / Society Section Editor
Oh Kim Youbin / Culture Section Editor