Friday, September 30, 2005

Chuka Hamnida! Congratulations!

Welcome to the Blog of the Gwangju Asian Human Rights Folk School

축하합니다 ! (Chuka Hamnida!) Congratulations!

Anyeong hasimmnika! Anyeong hasseyo! Greetings !

This blog serves as a portal for exchanges among alumni/participants of the Gwangju Aisan Human Rights Folk School. We will announce here updates, news, events, commentaries, reflections, experiences, and just plain messages or greetings. Also, we will definitely see a lot of images or pictures of the folk school.

For our first several posts we will post some helpful guidelines for participants when they attend the folk school this coming November 2005. Sorry the form we used is the old one, so, this is not really the inaugural but the second time within this year that the folk school is being conducted. Weather is one of the main reasons why the activity is being held this November. Many participants from tropical countries find the weather very unpleasant last January (winter season) so we are trying to make up for that. Of course there are lot more areas of improvement and we hope that your participation will contribute and make the conduct of the activity in the future very pleasant for others or the next batch.

As promised this blog will also be a visual blog, a gallery, a photo album, so we are going to post the pictures of the inaugural batch – to entice and excite you – interesting right! So meet the first batch and share, virtually their camaraderie, fun, I wonder if they got bored also, hmmm… Anyway it will be as awesome as you will make it to be so make your batch the AWESOME 2nd Batch --- hurray!

We encourage everyone to introduce themselves to their fellow participants so we get to know each other well. Post on the comments to the blog entry.

Hey who is talking anyway? Yes let me introduce myself, I brought out this idea of a blog to our Director for International Solidarity, Mr, Chan Ho Kim who agreed to the idea of this portal. So this is Pete Rahon from Philippines, an intern here at The May 18 Memorial Foundation. Most of you have received and continue to receive email exchanges from me. We will get to know each other and the rest of my co-interns (Agnes, Mus and Pan) when you get here in Gwangju City, okay. I hope some of you have seen the blogsite of us interns as well.

If you must, a must indeed: learn some or few Korean phrases to help you around esp. at the airport, on the bus, or at bus station when you travel, few Koreans dare enough to talk or converse in English. Most of them will understand English for as long as you talk slowly and most often than not they will reply to you in English: Sorry I don’t speak in English… (didn’t s/he just spoke in English, maybe s/he can’t speak very well in English). There you go. Coming here to Korea? You are fortunate to make it. Korea is a wonderful country, rich in culture and beauty, famed as the Land of the Morning Calm. So make the most when you come here.

So, welcome … welcome…
Kamsahamnida! Thank you!

Thursday, September 29, 2005

Guide to the Gwangju Asian Human Rights Folk School

1. Introduction to the May 18 Memorial Foundation

The May 18 Memorial Foundation is a non-profit organization established in 1994 by the surviving victims of the 1980 Gwangju Uprising; the victims' families; and the citizens of Gwangju. The Foundation has as its aims to commemorate and continue the spirit of struggle and solidarity of the May 18 Gwangju Democratic Uprising; to contribute to the peaceful reunification of Korea; and to work towards peace and human rights throughout the world.

Since its establishment, the Foundation has carried out numerous projects in varying fields, including organizing memorial events, establishing scholarships, fostering research, disseminating public information, publishing relevant materials, dispensing charity and welfare benefits, building international solidarity, and awarding the Gwangju Prize for Human Rights.

2. The Gwangju Asian Human Rights Folk School 2005

2.1. Goals

The Gwangju Asian Human Rights Folk School 2005 will strive to contribute to the development of democracy and human rights throughout Asia by hosting 20 invitees from all over Asia who have been working for human rights and peace organizations in their own countries and by giving them a chance to learn about and experience the history and process of the development of human rights and democracy in South Korea.

2.2. Education

a) The Asian Human Rights Folk School will introduce the participants to Korean history in general and to the movements and struggle for democracy, including the 1980 Gwangju Uprising, through both theoretical and practical experiences such as seminars, discussions and fieldtrips to the sites of democratization movements in Korea.

b) The participants will be formed into groups at the beginning of the program. Each group will select a research topic, conduct the relevant research and deliver a presentation at the end of the education session.

c) The participants are requested to submit reports concerning the human rights situation in their countries, as well as their work experiences. These reports will be included in the rapidly expanding database of the foundation for use by various human rights organizations inside and outside the Republic of Korea.

2.3 The Folk School System

a) The Asian Human Rights Folk School will take as its model the Folk School System, an informal schooling concept , which first began in Denmark in 1844 through the efforts of the poet and educator Nikolai F.S. Grundtvig and to this day continues to operate throughout several northern European countries.

b) The Folk School stand in stark contrast to regular regimented academic education systems in which the institutionalized and often government-controlled school system makes unilateral decisions concerning its curriculum and the manner in which an education is delivered.

c) In its place, the curriculum of a Folk School is decided through multilateral interactions between the school, its instructors and the students, and includes informal discussions, presentations, workshops and field trips.

3. Programme/Design of the Gwangju Asian Human Rights Folk School 2005

3.1 Daily Timetable

09:00~10:30 Meeting
10:30~11:30 Discussion
11:30~12:30 Lunch
12:30~14:00 Lecture
14:00~15:00 Discussion

3.2. Weekly Program and Activities: Session Design of the Folk School

▤ Session I : Imperialism and Asia

11. 7 (Mon) : Orientation, Introduction to the Group Report.
11. 8 (Tue) : Pay respect at the National May 18 Cemetery, Visit historical places.
11. 9 (Wed) : Inheritance of Imperialism
(Cultural Conflict and Unification,Prof. Lee Gwang Soo).
11.10 (Thu) : Orientalism (Prof. Park Gu yong).
11.11 (Fri) : Ideological Conflicts and State Violence (Prof. Fernand de Verenes).
11.12 (Sat) : Introduction of Participants' organizations.

▤ Session II : Globalization and Asia

11.14 (Mon) : Human Rights and Rule of Law (Asia Human Rights Committee, Sanjeewa).
11.15 (Tue) : Globalization and Neo-liberalism (Lee Hae Young).
11.16 (Wed) : Cooperation in Asian Region and Civil Society (Prof. Park Eun Hong)

▤ Session III : Asia and Democratization in South Korea
11.17 (Thu) : Democratic Movement in South Korea (Prof. Joe Hee Yeon)
11.18 (Fri) : Korean Experience in Settlement of the Past (Prof. Kim Dong Chun)
11.19 (Sat) : Preparing for the Group Report
11.21 (Mon) : Field visit to the Pan Mun Jeom and Korea Democracy.
11.22 (Tue) : Civil society and NGO(National Human Rights Committee, People's Solidarity for Participatory Democracy)
11.23 (Wed) : Group Reporting I
11.24 (Thu) : Group Reporting II
11.25 (Fri) : Closing Ceremony & Farewell Party.

II. Coming to Gwangju

1. Before you leave home


a) Passport and Korean Visa

b) Round trip Air-ticket (to be reimbursed by the Foundation upon arrival)

c) Travel and Health Insurance (participants own expense)

d) A certain amount of cash in either South Korean won or US dollars for bus fare/pocket money.

e) Warm clothing fall-winter season, national/folk costume and a business suit.

f) Reports on activities of the participants' organization (A4. 3~5 pages)/brochure/other publications

g) Other audio-visual materials e.g. documentary films/movies, etc.

h) Business card (it is customary in Korea to exchange business cards when introduced)

i) Piece/participation/share during solidarity nite activities (song, dance, skit, etc.)

1.2. Costs

The May 18 Memorial Foundation will cover the costs of economy class round trip air tickets, accommodation, meals and the educational program fees. Other expenses such as travel/health insurance, personal travel or weekend excursions, restaurant meals, or souvenir expenses shall be covered by the participant.

1.3. Visa Issuance

To help with the visa issuance, the May 18 Memorial Foundation will contact/send fax of invitation to the Korean consulates or embassies in your country. If you need help from the Foundation regarding visa issuance please contact the Foundation immediately. When applying for visa, be sure to check out and comply with all the requirements and be sure to attach the invitation from the Foundation in your application form. The visa fee is not covered by the Foundation and it must be paid for by the participant.

1.4. Emergency Contact

Should there be any problems or changes with your planned trip to Gwangju, please contact the May 18 Memorial Foundation through

Mr. Chris Sang Seon Kim
Staff in-charge International Solidarity, General Affairs Department
Office phone: +82-(0)62-456-0518
Mobile phone: +82-(0)10-8000-8052(int'l call/remove 82 when calling in Korea)
Mobile phone: +82-(0)10-9237-7318 - Mus (int'l call/remove 82 when calling in Korea)
E-mail : /

2. Arrival in Korea

2.1 Passport and Immigration Control

To receive official permission to enter the Republic of Korea you will need the following documents (Do not forget to carry all these documents in your hand luggage! Immigration officials are very strict and sometimes scrutinizes documents thoroughly, so be sure to have these documents ready):
- Your valid passport, containing your visa (if applicable)
- Your Gwangju Asian Human Rights Folk School invitation letter
- Evidence that you intend to leave the Republic of Korea at the end of the program (normally your round air-ticket will suffice)

If you did not obtain your visa before your departure from your home country, the immigration officer may refuse your entry to Korea.


After passing through immigration, you will collect your luggage from the Baggage Claim area and proceed to the Customs area. If you have goods to declare, fill out a Customs Declaration form; if you have no goods to declare, you must still go through Customs and notify the Customs officer that you have nothing to declare.

2.3. Money Exchange

Buses run directly from the Incheon International airport to the city of Gwangju. If you take a bus to Gwangju from Incheon International Airport, you will need to have on hand approximately 35,000 Korean won (about US$35). The bus trip to Gwangju takes approximately four-and-a-half hours.

* For more detailed information on the arrival procedure, please refer to Incheon International Airport website.

3. Your Journey to Gwangju

Different modes of transportation are available from Incheon International Airport to Gwangju, in Jeollanam-do Province. The express bus from Incheon International Airport to Gwangju Bus Terminal is highly recommended for your convenience. Please be advised there is another city in Korea also named Gwangju City in Seoul or Gyeonggi Province. Make sure you are going to the Gwangju Metropoloitan City in Jeollanam-do Province.

3.1 By Bus

You can get information on buses to Gwangju and purchase the bus ticket at the Transportation Information Counter on the arrival floor of the airport passenger terminal. After buying your ticket, proceed to Bus Stop No.8A for the bus to Gwangju. Click to be linked to the map of the arrival floor of Incheon International Airport and the bus schedule from Incheon Airport to Gwangju Bus Terminal is below:

Bus Stop No. Gwangju 8A
First Bus 07:20
Last Bus 22:10
Interval (Min.) 80 ~ 180
Traveling Time 270 (mins or 4.5 hrs)
Fare (Won) 30,900

3.2 Upon Arrival in Gwangju

Before you leave Incheon International Airport for Gwangju, please telephone and inform the May 18 Memorial Foundation of your arrival time and destination in Gwangju. (Refer to above contact numbers). Volunteers from the Foundation will be on hand to welcome you and escort you to your accommodations.

4. General Information

4.1. Weather

The month of November is a fall season. The weather is cool and the average temperature ranges from 19 degrees to 7 degrees (or even lower). It is advised that participants, especially from tropical countries to bring with them warm clothing (sweaters, jackets, etc) .

4.2 Using Public Telephones/Internet

Use coins or telephone cards for public telephones in Korea. To make an international call, press 007 or 008 before the country code. A local call costs 70 won for 3 minutes. Internet access is widely available in PC Bang (Computer/Internet Cafés), the costs is 1,000 won (or US $ 1.00) per hour.

4.3 Using Public Transportation

Public buses run frequently and the fares, usually 900 won, need to be paid upon entry at the front door of the bus in cash or coins; do not use bills over 1,000 won. The base taxi fare is 1,500 won.

The Alumni of the Inaugural Gwangju Asian Human Rights Folk School 2005

Meet the inaugural batch and staff of the Gwangju Asian Human Rights Folk School 2005 (held last January 10-28, 2005)