Governors and foreign diplomats in Seoul pose during the 12th Governors Association of Korea (GAOK) luncheon meeting held on Dec. 3 at the Grand Hyatt Seoul. Photo courtesy of GAOK Secretariat

“Local development is the future of our nation and new horizon of foreign cooperation”: GAOK Chairman

Ambassadors from the Seoul Diplomatic Corps showed keen interest in international events to be hosted by South Korean regional governments next year.

In its 12th Governors Association of Korea (GAOK) luncheon meeting held on Dec. 3 at the Grand Hyatt Seoul, with foreign missions in Korea, GAOK introduced various global gatherings here due in 2022.

Included in them are Asia-Pacific Masters Games 2023 Jeonbuk Korea, 2022 Boryeong Sea Mud Exhibition, World Expo 2030 Busan Korea, Gangwon Forestry Exhibition 2022, and 2022 Daejeon UCLG World Congress, to name just a few.

Touching upon the importance of cooperation between the central government and local governments, GAOK Chairman Song Ha-jin, who is concurrently governor of North Jeolla Province, said in his welcoming remarks, “Local competitiveness is the key to national competitiveness.”

A total of 45 envoys from the Seoul Diplomatic Corps attended the meeting, including Kuwait Amb. Bader Mohammad Alawadi, who serves as the Dean of the Middle East circle group ambassadors, according to GAOK.

Also showed up were Georgia Amb. Otar Berdzenishvili, Mexico Amb. Bruno Figueroa Fischer, Zambia Amb. Wylubr Chisiya Simuusa, Turkey Amb. Durmus Ersin Ercin, Lebanon Amb. Antoine Azzam, Peru Amb. Daul Jesus Enrique Matute Mejia, Kazakhstan Amb. Bakyt Dyussenbayev, India Amb. Sripriya Ranganathan, Afghanistan Amb. Abdul Hakim Atarud, Croatia Amb. Damir Kusen, Sierra Leone Amb. Kathos Jibao Mattai, Slovakia Amb. Jan Kuderjavy, Laos Amb. Thieng Boupha, Italy Amb. Federico Failla, Myanmar Amb. Thant Sin, and Czech Amb. Gustav Slamecka.

Chairman Song said he sincerely expects many more envoys’ brisk participation in international events to be hosted by local governments in Korea next year.

He also underscored that local development is the future of our nation as well as a new horizon of foreign cooperation for the Republic of Korea.

According to the Secretariat, GAOK’s visions and goals are to realize genuine decentralization and local diplomacy.

In that regard, GAOK carries out many projects with foreign embassies in Korea regarding Glocalization Forum, annual retreat of local officials in charge of international exchange, glocal education center program for intensive learning on international affairs, global policy research for learning foreign policy, according to the Secretariat.