In order to celebrate the 30th FAO Regional Conference for Asia Pacific, Gyeongsangbuk-do Provincial Government and Kyungwoon University Saemaul Academy in South Korea held the International Symposium on Saemaul Undong on September 29, 2010. The international symposium was also attended by the Saemaul Undong’s leaders and enthusiasts in several countries totaling about 200 people from South Korea, China, Pakistan, Mongolia, Vietnam, and so on.
Ratih Pratiwi Anwar, S.E, M.Si., Head of Division of Research and Development Center for Korean Studies UGM explained Saemaul Undong is the community development movement initiated by the late President Park Chung-Hee who ruled South Korea in the period 1961-1979. Saemaul Undong established as government policy and implemented with the principles of cooperation, discipline, and hard work. Thanks to Saemaul Undong, living standards of rural communities are improved, villages experiencing modernization, and the spirit of mutual help increases.
In addition, Saemaul Undong has made South Korea become a member of the OECD in 1996. "In 2000, UNESCAP adopted Saemaul Undong as one model of rural developments in Asian developing countries. Until now, this model has been implemented in 30 countries, including in Indonesia," said the lecturer in the Department of Korean Language Faculty of Cultural Science UGM on Thursday (7/10).
In The International Symposium on Saemaul Undong, she was invited by the Saemaul Academy Kyungwoon University to give presentations. In the city of Gyeongju, Gyeongsangbuk-do Province, South Korea, Ratih presented the results of research entitled "The Achievement of Saemaul Undong Movement in the Province of Yogyakarta Special Region, Indonesia."
There are four other speakers who participate to give their thoughts in the event. They are President of Saemaul Undong Center Mongolia (Kuykel Marina), who speaks of the "Green Mongolia 2009", Director of Foreign Cooperation Department of Thai Nguyen Province, Vietnam (Nguyen Duc Hanh), who proposed "Development Status and Success Stories of Saemaul Undong in Vietnam", Professor Emeritus Kyungpook University (Professor Kim Kil Ung), who conveyed Implementation and Improvement of Saemaul Undong in Laos, and the Director of Kyungwoon University Saemaul Academy (Professor Choi Jin Keun), who discussed the Results and Future Direction of the Globalization of Gyeongsangbuk-do Saemaul Undong.
In her presentation, Ratih reveals that Yogyakarta Special Region is the first province in Indonesia to organize the Saemaul Undong movement. This was implemented within the cooperation framework of the twin provinces between Yogyakarta Province and Gyeongsangbuk-do Province of South Korea. Agreement on implementation of the Saemaul Undong movement in the province of was signed by the Governor of Yogyakarta, Sri Sultan Hamengkubuwono X, and the Governor of the Province of Gyeongsangbuk-do, Mr. Kim Kwan Yong in 2008.
In this Saemaul Undong movement, Kampung Village in District Ngawen, Gunung Kidul District, was designated as a pilot village (pilot project) since 2007 until 2009. In this village, Gyeongsangbuk-do Province provided assistance in the form of grants for the manufacture of the village meeting hall (Saemaul Building), 15 cows, 5 drilled wells, and the construction of 1,000 meters village roads. "Because of its success, in 2010, Salamrejo Village in District Sentolo, Kulon Progo Regency, was elected to be the new location of Saemaul Undong movement," he said.
South Korea also sent Korean volunteers consisting of students, lecturers, and medical personnel to carry out various activities . They work together with students of UGM Korean Language Department who also participated in Saemaul Undongas translators. The participation of UGM student is very useful because it adds knowledge about rural development and empowerment of rural communities in South Korea.
Ratih concluded that Saemaul Undong movement in the Kampung village, District Ngawen, Gunung Kidul Regency, has helped to improve rural infrastructure, creating alternative income for farmers, providing much-needed clean water, and enhanced the spirit of cooperation and hard work of citizens. In the future, Saemaul Undong movement is very likely to be applied to other villages in the province because basically the spirit of mutual help here is in accordance with the principles of Saemaul Undong.