SEOUL, SOUTH KOREA, December 18, 2020 — The Seoul Metropolitan Government announced that 19 foreign nationals Seoul from 17 countries were selected as “2020 honorary citizens of Seoul” for their love of the city.
Seoul’s honorary citizenship has been awarded to 859 foreigners from 99 countries for their contribution to the city’s development since the first one was named for his support for city reconstruction around 1958. Awardees include several heads of state and diplomats visiting Seoul for their contribution to international cooperation.
Honorary citizens of 2020 are the EU Ambassador to Korea (in August) and the U.S. Ambassador to Korea (in October), among others. This year, honorary citizens actively participated in Seoul’s various policy areas, such as economy, culture, and tourism, making the city a happier place to live.
Honorary citizens of this year also include Dr. Florian Marks from Germany for the contribution to the response to the COVID-19 pandemic and scientific development at the International Vaccine Institute, the first international organization based in Seoul; Quintart Julian Jean L. from Belgium for his social and promoting activities through broadcasting; Ashminov Mihal Spasov from Bulgaria; and Chavala Mika Lucas from Tanzania. The selection was based on recommendations from embassies and citizens of Seoul.
The list of honorary citizens of this year also shows the names of Joachim Kurt Nowak from Germany, who founded the EU Chamber of Commerce in 2012 and has been making tremendous efforts to facilitate economic and cultural exchanges between Korea and Europe as the Vice Chairman of Austrian Korean Society, Yazan Humaid Al Makhawi from the Arab Emirates who has been contributing industrial exchanges and cooperation between Korea and UAE, and Laurent Pereira Godinho who has been actively participating in public design and artworks to improve the cultural aspect of Seoul.
Besides, several other foreign nationals, such as Rafael Abasolo Astrain from Spain, were selected for donation activities and voluntary work for the socially disadvantaged in the city, giving comfort and encouragement to people in this challenging time of the pandemic.
Honorary citizens were recommended by embassies, heads of public organizations and social groups, or 30 or more citizens from June 18 to August 7. The final selection was made with the consent of the Seoul Metropolitan Council.
Because of COVID-19, the awarding ceremony can not be held, but certificates and medals have been sent to recipients.
The selected honorary citizens said Seoul is now their second hometown, rather than just a place to live, and expressed their joy as their personal or occupational achievement is recognized, adding that they will live up to the honor and continue to make contribution to the city and the society.
Seo Jung-hyup, Acting Mayor of Seoul, noted in his letter to the new honorary citizens, “The certificate contains the message of gratitude for your efforts, and request for your continuous dedication. To make Seoul a more comfortable and lovable place to live, the metropolitan government will improve infrastructure for better quality of life such as education, housing and medical service, and transform it into an international city with more diversity and tolerance.”