Seoul, South Korea has been unveiled as the venue for the annual conference of International Association for the Exchange of Students for Technical Experience (IAESTE) in 2017. The Seoul meeting will mark the 70th anniversary of the event.
On January 30, IAESTE (IAESTE Korea, www.iaeste.org) announced that the IAESTE's 70th Annual Conference would be held in Seoul for a total of eight consecutive days from January 20 to January 27, 2017.
The 2015 edition of the IAESTE Annual Conference, which was held from January 23 to January 30 in Zagreb, Croatia, saw some 300 representatives from 87 member countries attend. Participants took part in a vote to choose the venue for the 70th Annual Conference in 2017 after listening to presentations given by two candidate cities. Seoul garnered an overwhelming majority of support for its bit, beating its rival Cyprus in the vote. The poll confirmed that the Korean capital would indeed host the 70th Annual Conference of IAESTE in 2017.
The official Korean bid for the 2017 IAESTE Annual Conference was submitted to the board of IAESTE A.s.b.l. in October last year. The bidding committee was comprised of the National Committee members of IAESTE Korea and the student representative. Kwan-ho Song, a professor at Seoul’s Soongsil University, headed the committee, and support was also garnered from public bodies such as the Seoul Metropolitan Government and the Korean Tourism Organization.
During the bid presentation, the delegate from Korea stressed that the time was right to choose Seoul as the 2017 event’s host city, speaking of the increasing global popularity of Korean popular entertainment (such as K-pop and K-dramas), the country's industrial competitiveness and the strong support of the Seoul Metropolitan Government. The delegate of Korea also spoke of the deep history of Korean involvement in the IAESTE, an increase of overseas activities among young people and Korea's recent and successful efforts to attracting talented people from all over the world. Seo Hyung-won, Korea’s ambassador to Croatia, as well as other Korean representatives in Croatia, also played their part in supporting the Korean bid
IAESTE’s Annual Conference has been held regularly since the organization was found in 1948. It is usually held every year for a period of seven days beginning on the third or fourth Friday of January.
The IAESTE Annual Conference, which consists of the delegates from around 90 member countries, is an important meeting whereby representatives from each member countries - including experts in education, government policy and industry - meet with student delegates to discuss a variety of issues. These issues include items such as new member country applications, the allocation and adjustment of budgets and the planning of conferences.
The organization is committed to cultivating a network of global internships and other practical experience for young people, allowing participants from all over the world to enjoy the benefits of international professional and cultural exchange.
Professor Song explained, "The 2017 IAESTE Annual Conference in Seoul will mean a lot, as it is only the third to be held in Asia. Tokyo hosted the event in 1982 and Bangkok was chose to host in 2011, but it is now Korea’s turn in the spotlight. Young people from around 90 countries will participate in the event, and it represents an excellent opportunity for experienced professionals to reach out and help young Korean talents as well. I am delighted to have the chance to play a role in this event.”
Dr. Young-Soo You, the president of the IAESTE Korea, has said that he expects that the 2017 IAESTE Annual Conference in Seoul to help boost Korea's global branding power, and allow more young talents have the chance to travel and experience the professional life in abroad.
Dr. You also spoke of the creation of an international network that would involve gathering together stakeholders in the field of science, engineering, and applied arts. Such a network, he said, could hope to spread the popularity of Korean popular culture, create jobs abroad, help relieve youth unemployment and attract global talent to Korea.
Dr. You also spoke of the financial challenges involved, saying, "Funding issues have beset the National Committee of IAESTE Korea for the past seven years, but we have been fortunate enough to have enjoyed the generous support of several groups of volunteers. We will now look forward to make a support group in conjunction with multiple government departments through this new opportunity – something that should help us enter a new phase of fundraising."
The National Committee of IAESTE Korea has also been actively seeking new ways to promote its overseas activities to young people through the cooperation of the Korea government’s main legislative body, the National Assembly.
The ruling Saenuri Party held a policy conference in August last year with the aim of exploring ways to expand the reach of overseas youth activities.
Jae-Young Lee, a member of the party, explained, "The 2017 IAESTE Annual Conference in Seoul will be pivotal for efforts to expand overseas activities among young people in Korea. If we want the event to be a success, it is imperative that we provide a support network for it. Such a network needs to be an inter-government departmental effort ensures effective financial support."
By Yeon Choul-woong