Seoul at Peace
Around 6,000 Rotarians from 160 countries, many dressed in the traditional dress of their home countries, gathered in Seoul's City Hall Plaza for the three-kilometre Walk for Peace event on May 28.
Public officials, including Seoul's mayor Park Won-soon, and the American, German, Egyptian, British, and Irish ambassadors to South Korea took part.
The event marked the start of the 2016 Rotary International Convention in Goyang and Seoul from May 28 to June 1, which drew around 50,000 participants, half of them foreigners. The walk allowed Rotarians to introduce themselves to the Korean capital, while showing solidarity with global peace. Co-organisers The Seoul Metropolitan Government uses the event to introduce delegates to major tourist attractions and Korean culture.
Challenges and measures
To drum up the festive spirit, before the walk participants took group photos and engaged in cultural and traditional activities, such as Korean calligraphy, traditional Korean games, Seoul photo zones, and rice cake-making. The Rotarians came together to join an upbeat welcome dance to warm up.
To help the public have a better understanding of the association, a photo exhibition highlighting the 111 years of Rotary's community service was set up at Gwanghwamun Square, the halfway turnaround point of the walk. On the return walk, the participants were joined by a traditional Korean folk percussion team instilling a burst of Korean spirit.
After the walk, participants had the opportunity to join guided tours to some of the city's top attractions such as Gwangjang Market, Gyeongbokgung Palace, and Dongdaemun Design Plaza.
City government officials were satisfied with the event. "Seoul provided support for the success of the 3K Walk for Peace as part of the largest ever Rotary convention," said Kim Eui-seung, director-general of the Seoul Metropolitan Government's Tourism Policy Bureau. "We anticipate Seoul's image and economy will experience a positive effect."
Kim Byungtae, president and CEO of the Seoul Tourism Organisation, added: "The 3K Walk for Peace was a great way to introduce the prestigious Rotary Club and Rotarians from around the world to Seoul and vice versa. The event attracted a lot of interest in the Rotary Club, while Rotarians were able to take in the beauty and hospitality of Seoul."