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Service Programs

Vanuatuans Learn about Korea's New Village Movement

Tanna, Vanuatu - Through the invitation of UPF-Oceania, the Tafea Provincial President in Vanuatu and four local leaders visited Korea December 1-6, 2011, to learn about Saemaul Undong (Korea's "New Village Movement") and explore the potential for development partnerships. The visit helped leaders in the developing nation of Vanuatu to understand the Saemaul Undong, which played such a significant role in providing the vision and conviction to develop the rural areas in Korea.

Previously, the Director of UPF-Oceania, Dr. Dongwoo Kim, visited Tanna the capital of the Tafea State in Vanuatu to speak with President Natuman Nakou and the Secretary General and explain about the Saemaul Undong and UPF-Oceania's activities in the Solomon Islands. Tafea is the southernmost province of this South Pacific archipelago, and its name is an for the five main islands that make up the province: Tanna, Aniwa, Futuna, Erromango, and Anatom.

Mr. Nakou was deeply impressed by the explanations of Dr. Kim, and arrangements were made for him and a few other leaders to visit Korea through the sponsorship of UPF-Oceania, Global Green Life Network (an NGO in Busan), the Youngdo City Council of Busan, and several companies.

On December 1, Mr. Nakou and his delegation arrived at Incheon International Airport in South Korea and headed to the Saemaul Undong Academy at Kyeong Woon University. For two days, they learned about the history, theory, and practice of the Saemaul Undong. Saemaul Undong began in 1970 under the leadership of President Park Chung Hee as a national policy to develop rural areas, and they achieved development breakthroughs in a short period of time. The educational program consisted of lectures, discussions, a visit to the birthplace of Saemaul Undong, and a visit to the National Agricultural Cooperative Unions of Korea. This enabled the delegation to learn about Saemaul Undong and how it was able to lay the foundation for rural development in Korea.

Next, the party visited Korea's second largest city, Busan, where they visited a companies that decontaminate soil, recycle construction waste, and recycle household waste. Mr. Nokou was especially interested in the company which recycles household waste, which can be very useful to an island nation, and expressed a desire to introduce a waste reprocessing facility with the cooperation of businesses and local government.

On December 4, a one-day workshop introduced the vision and activities of UPF and teaching of its founder.

The following day, the party visited the Korean Institute of Maritime and Fisheries Technology, Maritime Environment Research and Training Institute, and Korea Maritime University and Shipyard; they looked around, observing the advanced development of Korea's maritime industry and the port Busan. In addition, the delegation visited the city council of Youngdo, where they had a meeting with the Mayor and the Directors.

On December 6, the delegation visited the Busan Coffee Academy to learn about the trends of Korea's coffee market and to get their expert opinion on Tanna coffee, which is a specialty of Tafea's provincial capital, Tanna. Tanna coffee was judged to be one of the world's finest coffees, and the Academy Director and leaders expressed confidence in the prospects for developing Vanuatu's coffee production and marketing it in Asia.

To promote relationships between Korea and the developing countries of the South Pacific, a South Pacific Center for Development and Cooperation was established to provide ongoing support and training plans.

NOTE: The New Village Movement was initiated in 1970 by South Korean president Park Chung Hee to modernize the rural South Korean economy. The idea was based on the Korean traditional communalism called Hyang-yak and Doorae, which provided the rules for self-governing and cooperation in traditional Korean communities. The movement initially sought to rectify the growing disparity of the standard of living between the nation's urban centers, which were rapidly industrializing, and the small villages, which continued to be mired in poverty. Diligence, self-help and collaboration were the slogans to encourage community members to participate in the development process. The early stage of the movement focused on improving the basic living conditions and environments whereas later projects concentrated on building rural infrastructure and increasing community income.

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