On September 25, Mayor Park Won Soon, who is currently on an official tour in the United States to strengthen cooperation among cities regarding the establishment of a Seoul-style creative economy model, visited Stanford University in San Francisco to give a special lecture titled “Good Governance in South Korea: Mobilizing Citizens through Engaged Communication”.
In 2005, Mayor Park spent a year at Stanford University as a visiting professor. And this time, he was invited by the Shorenstein Asia-Pacific Research Center of Stanford University to give a lecture, which was attended by about 100 students and faculty members.
During his lecture, Mayor Park openly shared some of his personal stories, which included his experiences with the administration of Seoul and his efforts as mayor to resolve various urban issues in the world today through innovation and engaged communication with citizens, as well as his very personal story about living as a “social designer”.
Mayor Park emphasized the necessity of finding new, more innovative alternatives to resolve the social issues that the world is facing, including poverty, inequality, climate change, global warming, low fertility rates, and aging societies.
Since his inauguration as the mayor of Seoul, Seoul Metropolitan Government has established “Citizens are the mayor” as its motto, and implemented a number of innovative administrative policies, such as direct communication with the citizens through Twitter, Facebook, and other social networking services; participatory budgeting; disclosure of administrative information of Seoul Metropolitan Government; and “On-the-Site Mayor’s Office”. In recognition of these efforts, Seoul Metropolitan Government received several UN Public Service Awards in 2013.
Seoul Metropolitan Government received the UN Public Service Awards for its various public service initiatives, including the Seoul Welfare Standards, Eco-mileage program, Initiative for Women of Single-person Households, and Preventing and Combating Corruption in the Public Service. It received four of the twelve awards given to the Asia-Pacific region, setting the record for the institution receiving the most UN Public Service Awards in a year.
Regarding his life and experiences, Mayor Park talked about his college experiences, his activities as a human rights lawyer, his participation in People’s Solidarity for Participatory Democracy, and his founding of the Beautiful Foundation and the Hope Institute. “The world is for people who dream,” was the main theme of the message he delivered.
After his special lecture, Mayor Park visited the Institute of Design, which is one of the most popular places in Stanford University. The Institute of Design was founded by Hasso Plattner, the co-founder of SAP, and it is a place where students learn how to design their ideas, focusing on collaboration and “learning by doing”.
Additionally, Mayor Park signed an MOU with two Silicon Valley start-up investors (Formation8 and AngelList), pledging to collaborate with the companies in expanding investment for start-ups in Seoul and fostering outstanding start-ups. In particular, Seoul Metropolitan Government promised to discover and recommend outstanding start-ups, and following an evaluation, the companies will invest in them.
“Through this visit to Silicon Valley, the foundation of the knowledge industry, where a number of start-up companies became successful through their own specialized technology and knowledge, I hope that Seoul Metropolitan Government will be able to develop into a global city that is ideal for start-ups,” said Mayor Park Won Soon, asking for the participants’ support. He also added, “Seoul Metropolitan Government will also actively offer any necessary administrative support for companies in the Silicon Valley, including Formation8 and AngelList, to make investments in Korea.