On July 13 (Wednesday), the launching ceremony of Let’s Travel with Democracy 2016 was started at Seoul NPO Center. This summer program that has been in place for four years was designed by the Korea Democracy Foundation, in hopes of providing college students with a chance to have hands-on experiences on the democratic movement in Korea. Through the opportunity, they can revisit the spirit of democracy, while paying visit to historic democratic sites and figures nationwide. The KDF picked up 25 groups (100 persons) among the 66 teams which submitted their exploration plans from June 10 to June 30. About 60 university students attended the event and exchanged hellos and encouragement.
The occasion was accompanied by the lecture titled Definition of Democratic Movement and the Site of Memories, delivered by JUNG Ho-gi, Research Fellow of the Institute of Contemporary Korean Society. He argued that the ambiguity of the definition tends to make people approach it on the legal perspective. He continued to state emphatically that we have to understand the movement in such ways that can expand our perception, for example, “a movement that strengthens freedom and autonomy from oppression, defends basic human rights and advances democracy; unification movement that tries to secure a nation’s sovereignty, departing from the Cold War System and ideological disputes; and, a struggle taken up for the right to survive and a better life. The researcher also explained memorial facilities of democracy that can be found throughout the country, together with their pictures taken in person. He said to the attendees that every site and building with significance in the democratic context is worth visiting, even if it is not renowned, or not designated as historic by the government, urging them to have meaning field trips. He finished his session, saying “Better safe than sorry.” Then, those who won the grand prize last year were invited to there and shared their video clips and useful tips they experienced with this year’s participants.
Representatives of the 25 groups introduced their team and explained their plan. They made up their mind that they would look into those who devoted themselves to the realization and the protection of democracy in Korea and commemorate their life, while digging into unexplored aspects of democratization, momentous locations and figures of democracy in their everyday life.
Those selected for the on-site program will be given travel expenses of about USD 600 per group and travel to those places and people during their summer vacation (July and August), before presenting exploration reports to the KDF. The foundation will evaluate them and choose six teams among them for scholarship. We wish all the best to them.