Welcome to Seoul: Big preparations for G-20 Financial Summit in Nov.
“The G-20 Financial Summit will take place in Seoul on Nov. 11 and 12. The government must be prepared with a good agenda and the people with hospitable manners to welcome our guests. We have to make this gathering a success, for this will be another opportunity to upgrade Korea’s image. We ask for your ardent interest and support,” said Sakong Il, the chairman of the Presidential Committee for the G-20 Summit at the press conference in early July.
True to his words, various preparations are being made for the G-20 Seoul Summit. The main page of the official website for G-20 Financial Summit -- whose official management was passed from the United Kingdom to Korea -- has been lit up by a taegeuk mark that symbolizes the Korean national flag since January.
The image of the Korean Peninsula making advances to the world is also shown through arrows reaching out to various continents. Furthermore, Korea has already held two G-20 Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors Meetings, in Incheon in February and in Busan in June, respectively.
Most recently the preparatory committee held a press conference to reveal a separate website dedicated to summit in Seoul, along with its symbol and other information. The symbol “Lantern of Seoul,” a perfect blend of the Korean traditional lantern (cheongsam-chorong) and the image of a rising sun, exhibited the message of welcome for the visitors and a silent resolve to make the big gathering worthwhile. To make it look simple and neat, only the basic colors of red, blue and black were used. The official symbol was chosen through a public design competition.
Jang Dae-young, 23, whose design beat other entries to become the symbol of the G-20 Seoul Summit, said he decided on a lantern, one of the most well known traditional images of Korea lighting up the world. The symbol also carries the meaning of hope, welcome and hospitality.
The 20 rays of the sun within the lantern express strong cooperation between the G-20 nations to lead the way for vibrant economic activity around the globe. The yin and yang of the taegeuk symbol hint at the very spirit of the G-20 summit -- the harmony between the developing and developed nations, thus expressing the resolve to make an active reflection of positions among non G-20 member nations.
Seoul Summit Website rich with content
The site for the Seoul summit is loaded with content to attract the participation of more people. The Korean website contains all the basic information on the upcoming summit, including its significance and agendas which can be seen at a glance. The site also links to Twitter, a blog and other social network services (SNS) to expand the interactivity. The children’s section provides equally informative content for youngsters with simpler explanations and illustrations to give a better grasp of the event.
The English language website not only provides details of the summit but also has an extra section called “Experience Korea.” Site visitors get a briefing about basic information of the country including its history, culture and tourism. For the convenience of overseas online users, the webpage is coded in such a way as to allow easy access of all browsers from any part of the world.
“The lantern symbol on the website was made possible through effective communication between people and the government,” said Mr. Sakong, who heads the preparation committee. “We shall make the Seoul summit a public event for all people to enjoy.”
G-20 young ambassadors on their way
The preparation committee, jointly with the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism, also held the launch ceremony for the Young Ambassadors for the G-20 Seoul Summit at COEX Millennium Plaza in Samseong-dong, Seoul on July 11. The selected youth ambassadors all gathered at the site to form a flash mob that highlighted its slogan “Young people! Shout out for G-20!” The “Young Ambassadors” in this case are special envoys to represent the 20 member nations of the G-20. A total of 60 college students were selected after a careful screening process of documents and interviews. The 60 students were then grouped into 20 teams. Their mission is to promote to the world the importance of the G-20 summit as well as the significance of Korea being the host country, its improved image and the responsibility it has to bear.
Their promotional activities will comprise of both off- and online activities with social networking services like Twitter and (Korean language) me2day at the forefront of communicating with the world. They will also be encouraged to create content for mock G-20 agendas. Those that excel in all these activities will get to be a volunteer worker at the actual meeting.
The program is also being backed by six top experts on Korea promotion, including Seo Kyoung-duk, a Korean PR expert and a visiting professor at Sung Shin Women's University. Seo is well known for his bold promotion of Korea’s ownership of Dokdo Island, the name of the East Sea, the ancient Goguryeo Kingdom and other historical aspects of the country. Recently he also joined in the promotion of Korean cuisine.
“Indifference is the biggest obstacle for promoting Korea,” said Seo. “So it’s quite heartening to see young college students participating in this event.” Seo has opened his own PR blog for the G-20 Seoul Summit and is in the middle of his new project named Dream which will be unveiled during the summit.
The preparatory committee also runs its own website (Korean language) and its English website is currently under construction. This page brings related links and the latest information together and is considering expanding service through cell phones and other mobile venues.
*The G-20 meeting first started out as a gathering of financial ministers and central bank governors meeting to discuss financial and economic issues around the globe in 1999. It later evolved to become summits of 20 member nations made up of leaders of G7 nations (the United States, Japan, United Kingdom, France, Italy & Canada), plus 12 emerging nations (South Korea, China, India, Australia, Brazil, Mexico, Indonesia, Russia, Turkey & Saudi Arabia & South Africa). The GDP of these 20 nations alone makes up 85 percent of the total world production.