2011 January 29th, in KOICA (Korea International Cooperation Agency), there was an event for VANK (Voluntary Agency Network of Korea) member students. The name of the event was called ‘VANK World Changer Education’. Such forum is held for the first time ever, but will continue to educate VANK students about contemporary global issues frequently from now on. 330 middle and high school students’ passionate minds to bring a better change in the world heated up the cold room. Students realized MDGs (Millennium Development Goals) were the challenges for young generations to solve.
MDGs are eight most imminent conundrums of 21st century, of which should be solved upto certain level by 2015. “Some problems are a little bit more influential to our lives than others. However if you were to become a world changer, you should care them all.” , VANK leader Park Gi-tae said.
VANK leader Park Gi-tae introducing a Moroccan intern in VANK
Some people question the effectiveness of United Nations. ICUNIA (Information Center for UN and International Activities) representative Kyung-Soo Kim told the students “OCHA(UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs) makes sure that relief goods are handed out to every single corner of rural areas. This is one of the practical actions that nothing else but UN can accomplish.” And also, “There are so few Koreans working in international organizations. Your chances are big. Try before you give up. But first, be an expert in your expertise.”
Frankly, many students looked partially relieved to know their English did not have to be perfect to work in UN. With their passionate minds, respectable English proficiency and expertise on a particular section, they were already a part of UN.
ICUNIA (Information Center for UN and International Activities) representative Kyung-Soo Kim being introduced at the beginning of his lecture
Lastly, KOICA Global Village Project Assistant Jung Sunghoon gave a speech about ODA(Official Development Assistant). ODAs are various forms of aids given by developed nations or its governments to international organizations or developing nations purely for their benefit. The aid is never limited to financial aid, but also includes technological, humanitarian aids. South Korea is the only country to no longer receive the aid but give the aid. But there are problems to unconditional ODAs. Recipient countries may no longer be able to stand up for themselves without the aid, making them heavily dependent on the aid. Their governments are easily corrupted, and modernization / democratization are delayed. ODAs may help recipient countries temporarily, but if they are not used properly, it does more harm than good.
KOICA Global Village Project Assistant Jung Sunghoon giving a lecture about MDGs and ODA.
“I came to open my sight to inconvenient truth, problems the universe is facing. Furthermore, students all together came up with practical solutions to the problems, of what we can contribute to make a better world! As I was listening to several lectures, I could visualize my dream, and find out what I would like to devote my career upon. I felt dignity to my home country. It was such a precious time to meet fellow students who are interested in similar issues. I will treasure this event for a long time.” said Kim Hyun Ah, 17, a participant of VANK World Changer Education.
VANK World Changer Education pointed out the problems we are facing. Students came to realize that not even solutions are going to completely solve the problem. But students with dreams of making a better world is ‘changing’ our world one step closer to Utopia, by acknowledging what the problem is, and why they should be solved.
/ MIZY Youth Reporters, Cho Rok Lee
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