31 January 2018

PyeongChang Forum for the Earth and its Citizens: sports and global citizenship highlighted in launch

31 January 2018 - The launch of the PyeongChang Forum for the Earth and its Citizens took place at United Nations Headquarters in New York on 13 December 2017. The event was organized by the Permanent Mission of the Republic of Korea to the United Nations in collaboration with the PyeongChang Organizing Committee for the 2018 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games and the Korean Gangwon Province government—where the 2018 PyeongChang Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games will be held 9–25 February 2018.

The discussion was moderated by Jimmy Roberts, NBC Sports and Olympics broadcaster. Introductory remarks were made by Cho Tae-Yul, Permanent Representative of the Republic of Korea to the United Nations; František Ružička, Chef de Cabinet of the Office of the President of the General Assembly; Choi Moon-soon, Governor of Gangwon Province; and Lee Sang-mook, Associate Professor at the School of Earth and Environmental Sciences of Seoul National University, a United Nations Academic Impact member institution. The speakers commonly underscored the notion that sports can serve to promote values aligned with global citizenship, such as perseverance, cooperation and compassion.

Cho Tae-Yul expressed his appreciation in particular for the unanimous adoption the preceding November by the United Nations General Assembly of a resolution on  “Building a peaceful and better world through sport and the Olympic ideal”, which urged Member States to respect the Olympic Truce.

The second part of the event consisted of a panel discussion involving Hahn Choong-hee, Deputy Permanent Representative of the Republic of Korea to the United Nations; Lily Gray of the UNESCO Liaison Office at the United Nations Headquarters in New York (who provided an overview of guidance notes offered by UNESCO to help teachers and policymakers counter the radicalization of students); Anthony Jackson, Director of Asia Society’s Centre for Global Education; and Dr. Jung Eunhee, Founder and Executive Director of IVECA International Virtual Schooling.

The discussion addressed the meaning of global citizenship and whether the concept referred to a defined list of concrete results or rather a spirit of awareness and acceptance of cultural differences. The discussants agreed that global citizenship encompasses both aspects. Emphasis was placed on the importance of being a global citizen, equipped with relevant competencies such as tolerance, empathy and cultural literacy in order to tackle the spread of violent extremism.

Finally, Ryu Seung-Minhe, Olympic Gold medalist in table tennis, expressed his hope that the sporting prowess displayed at the 2018 PyeongChang Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games would inspire young people around the world to persevere in their own careers and, with some luck, compete in future Olympic Games.

The first PyeongChang Forum for the Earth and its Citizens will be held in Seoul on 7 February 2018.

View the webcast of the event here