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World’s young volunteers promote peace, culture and sustainable development in South Korea
an article by Catherine Masunda, Synodia Chitura and Nokuthula Zinyengere (Zimbabwe)

Mutual respect, dialogue, respect for principles of dignity, equality, peace and intercultural tolerance can only be realized if culture (both tangible and intangible) is respected as a firm foundation for these aspects to be achieved. We are three young Zimbabwean ladies who participated in South Korean UNESCO International Workcamps during the months of July – August 2012 at three selected unique sites namely Jeju Island, Gyeongju and Busan respectively running for 2 weeks each.

Zimbabwean traditional dance performance

click on photo to enlarge

The workcamps are part of UNESCO’s strategy of action to empower young people through participation in activities that encourage volunteering and ensure that youth participate as equal and valuable partners in the society. The programme for each workcamp was designed to suit the uniqueness of the location.

Gyeongju is a world cultural heritage site where a traditional school called Gyeongju Hyanggyo is found and it dates back to the 1300s. Jeju Island is a world natural heritage site that houses the sacred Hallasan Mountain which is 1900m above sea level and is home of South Korean indigenous endangered species.

15 participants attended from Austria, Czech, Iraq, France, Kuwait, Spain , Zimbabwe, HongKong and Taiwan. The overall theme was World Natural Heritage Preservation and Promotion and main activities included:

• Environment conservation –voluntary/community work by cleaning up Jeju Island streets, weeding and planting flowers in the flower beds

• Multicultural festival with local children and food exchange – as a way of cultural exchange and intolerance participants showcased culture from their respective countries through dance, music and preparation of food.

• World natural heritage campaign – participants prepared a poster as a marketing tool

• Learning about South Korean culture – participants were taught how to dye cloths using natural dye which amazingly change color from the original color used. They also did art work by writing on stones and decorated the art by covering with candle wax.

Busan is a Cultural heritage site which houses Gamcheon-dong cultural village which was established as a refugee camp for indigenous religious group of Taegeukdo believers who lived there since Korean-Japanese war of the 1950s. In Busan, 19 young volunteers from Spain, Russia, Taiwan, Turkey, Japan, Iraq, Hong-Kong and Zimbabwe worked under the guidance of South Korean leaders under the theme Sustainable Development. Activities included:

• Preservation of tangible and intangible culture by carrying interviews of local residents which were recorded and produced a video as a way of archiving the local history and marketing purposes. Visited the Korean rice wine “makgeolli” making factory. Work-campers produced a documentary of a lip-dub movie entitled “One Tribe” as a way of appreciating cultural diversity and promoting peace and harmony among races as one people

• Promotion of cultural diversity for dialogue and peace – all delegates participated in the multicultural lectures at a primary school as a way of creating peace by marketing their countries, linguistic diversity - which is globalization of culture. Food exhibition and dances

• Volunteering - through community work by delivering pots and planting flowers

• Peace through sports (as a way of promoting diversity of cultural expressions, linguistic diversity) – attended a baseball match of Busan professional baseball team called Lotte Giants

• Sustainable tourism – visited Busan Tower, Busan Musuem, Bameosa Buddha Temple, Haundae beach, UN memorial park, Nankodong sanctuaries.

Understanding other people’s culture brings peace in the world.


Question(s) related to this article:

International youth exchange programs, Do they promote a culture of peace?

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Latest reader comment:

More and more, CPNN is receiving articles about how international youth exchange programs are promoting a culture of peace in the new generation.  These articles include: World’s young volunteers promote peace, culture and sustainable development in South Korea
Medical Students in the spirit of culture of peace
One World Youth Project
The 3rd UN Alliance of Civilizations Summer School
Euro-med youth exchanges: Culture of Olive Trees, Culture of Peace

This report was posted on November 13, 2012.