2012 SIBAC Welcome Dinner Address
Date: October 25, 2012
Venue: Mayor’s Official Residence
Chairman Dominic Barton and members and advisors of the Seoul International Business Advisory Council (SIBAC), I would like to sincerely welcome you to the 2012 Annual Meeting. I would also like to express my most sincere thanks to your spouses for their great interest and participation in the SIBAC Annual Meeting.
I hope your journey to Seoul was not a difficult one, and as a Seoul citizen, I hope your visit to Seoul is both comfortable and enjoyable.
This is the first time I have met all of the SIBAC members in one place. I have already met a few members in Seoul and abroad over the past year, and I received valuable assistance. Your active support of our work gives me great strength and encouragement as the mayor of Seoul.
In Korea, we say that we “dash out with our socks on” when we are delighted to see our guests. This expression gives the image that we are so overjoyed to greet guests that we do not take the time to put on our shoes. So, with a heart full of joy and “in my sock feet,” I invited you to my residence so that we might relax together and become fast friends. Today, you have joined me at the mayor’s official residence in Seoul. The main building, built in 1940, was originally used as the official residence of the Chief Justice. It became the mayor’s residence in 1981.
Access to this building was restricted, but about three weeks ago, I opened it to the citizens of Seoul through the “Open House Seoul” event, and showed everyone my most cherished possessions. I had a great time with the participants that day.
This place has special meaning to me, but I am afraid we will have to move out soon to make way for the restoration of the old city wall of Hanyang, which is located near here. So, I plan to return this place to the people in the form of a park or library. I am excited at the thought of showing you this new public space the next time you visit.
Tomorrow marks exactly one year since my election as mayor, and the main theme of the Annual Meeting this year is “Seoul as a role model of public-private-civic partnership”. Therefore, this is a meaningful opportunity for me to reflect on my goal of creating an open city administration through communication, sharing and exchange, and citizen participation, as well as to think about the future.
As the fifth publicly elected mayor, my goal is to create a “City for the People”. By investing in the citizens of this city and their welfare, I am going to make Seoul a sustainable, people-centered city, where the citizens enjoy a higher quality of life. To achieve this change, I would appreciate any and all frank comments and ideas on what we must consider and work on at this important juncture.
With the Annual Meeting tomorrow, we have a very busy day ahead of us, but I hope you will put that thought aside as you relax, have dinner, and enjoy the beautiful Korean fall.