Asia Foundation Hosts Seoul Mayor Park Won-soon for Development Discussion

San Francisco, September 13, 2016 — On Saturday September 10, The Asia Foundation hosted Mayor of Seoul Park Won-soon at a special lunch in recognition of the 40-year Seoul-San Francisco Sister City relationship, held at the Waterfront Restaurant in San Francisco. The event featured a lively discussion on Seoul’s development experience moderated by the Foundation’s President David D. Arnold, featuring Mayor Park, and Ambassador for International Relations of the Seoul Metropolitan Government Kim Chang-beom.


Asia Foundation President David D. Arnold and Seoul Mayor Park Won-soon.

“Seoul has become a global example of best practice in climate change action,” said President Arnold. “In just 50 years, Seoul has boomed to become one of the world’s largest metropolitan cities, where modern skyscrapers and integrated transit meet palaces and street markets… We therefore take pride in the successful collaboration between the Seoul Metropolitan Government and the Foundation on a number of programs,” he continued.

Under Mayor Park’s leadership, Seoul has developed many forms of effective sharing by changing regulations, mobilizing the city’s underused resources and making information readily accessible. The city has also raised public awareness and supported companies and initiatives in the sharing of information and assets. Mayor Park expanded upon the value of mobilizing leadership and support from all economic and social sectors to support a forward-thinking vision. He also discussed the city’s plans placing “top priority on quality of life of citizens” to ensure the citizens of Seoul live in a healthy and green city.

From left to right: President Arnold, Mayor Park and Ambassador Kim Chang-beom.

From left to right: President Arnold, Mayor Park and Ambassador Kim Chang-beom.

The event built upon the April 2016 Memorandum of Understanding between the Foundation and Seoul Metropolitan (SMG) to collaborate on a number of programs including urban and environmental issues. SMG and the Foundation have successfully collaborated on numerous programs in the past, including regional conferences on urban and environmental issues, workshops on anti-corruption, study visits, and placements for young Americans in Seoul-based institutions.

Last year, the Foundation collaborated on the “Northeast Asian Mayors’ Forum” to exchange best practices in urban green growth with mayors and vice mayors from eight cities across Northeast Asia, including Mayor Park who gave a keynote speech on Seoul’s experience. Read an interview with Mayor Park in our In Asia blog.

The Asia Foundation is a nonprofit international development organization committed to improving lives across a dynamic and developing Asia. Informed by six decades of experience and deep local expertise, our work across the region addresses five overarching goals—strengthen governance, empower women, expand economic opportunity, increase environmental resilience, and promote regional cooperation.

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Related locations: Korea, San Francisco

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