Appointment ceremony of the Hopeful Seoul Policy Advisory Committee
Date: November 14, 2011
Venue: Main Conference Hall, Seosomun Building, Seoul City Hall
I am still getting accustomed to being called “mayor”. I stand here today as if I have a thousand troops behind me. The people here today are Korea’s leading policy advisors, some of the most talented individuals from academia and civic society. They are the representatives of the 10 million citizens of Seoul, and will determine the city’s administration.
After my election and inauguration, I promised you that I would focus on the people and make Seoul a city where the citizens are the mayors. The establishment of the Hopeful Seoul Policy Advisory Committee is a first step toward fulfilling that promise.
I would like to thank everyone for joining us so early in the morning. Having made you come out so early, I am sure some of you may be thinking that you elected the wrong person for mayor. But your presence at this early hour is not only helping me, but also, our citizens.
The seven divisions will be meeting the advisors here today with great frequency. They are important people who will work with us in establishing the policy vision and mid- to long-term vision of “Hopeful Seoul,” which will eventually be reborn as “Welfare Seoul”. We, including myself, are all partners in this endeavour.
During my election campaign, I held town meetings, which I called “Listening Tour Walks”, where I listened and learned a great deal. There are many citizens living very difficult lives. One man spoke about how his life kept falling apart around him, and another told me not to use the word “hope” so recklessly. These experiences show me that a major change is needed.
The problem is that good opportunities for exchange and effective channels of communication with the citizens are extremely limited. So, I hope that today we can construct an axis of governance to address with this issue. Furthermore, I believe that it is important to “be” with the citizens in the field, so I invited the advisors here today. They have an accurate understanding of the reality on the ground, as well as experience and insight into the future. Therefore, I look to you for your experience, capabilities, and wisdom.
Going forward, I will work with you in creating policies, establishing visions, and setting up various external channels. I will establish the Information Communication Center, which was one of my campaign pledges, and will ensure the steady flow of policy governance.
It has been about two weeks since I became the mayor of Seoul, and I am still amazed at the sheer size of the city’s administration. Seoul is the capital city of Korea and home to 10 million people, as well as a workplace for 20 million. This inevitably gives rise countless complex and conflicting interests. The chiefs of the departments, bureaus, and divisions and the advisory members are usually quiet, but I am sure that when their meetings begin, whatever the issue may be, there are conflicts of opinion. The meeting rooms become full of angry faces and huge arguments. You are welcome to get rough and physical. I actually approve of it. I believe debates should be open and honest. I say the livelier, the better, as long as the conflicts are over the good of the people, and not caused by personal differences.
At the same time, I believe in the value of both change and stability, and of reform and continuity. The imagination and vision of the experts gathered here today, the practical awareness of the citizens, and the stability and continuity of the public servant community will come together to create an effective combination. My term in office will be just shy of three years, but I hope you will be setting the direction of Seoul’s policy for the next decade. You are going to draw the rough sketches, and I will follow them and work hard for the good of our citizens.