FACES of KOREA: Seoul's New Honourary Citizens

by Anne Ladouceur, Honorary Citizen of Seoul , 24/12/2010

On October 28th, I very proudly joined 16 other foreign nationals to become the newest honorary citizens of Seoul. Seoul began awarding honorary citizenship back in 1958 and with us, the number now totals 649. Following a brief introduction* of each of this year’s honoree.  I’ll provide information on the nomination process. 

1. Kiyosi Fusita,  Chairman, Chiben Gakuen (Chiben Institute) has been organizing trips to Korea for Japanese students since 1978. Having sent 18,000 students, he has contributed greatly to the cultural exchange and tourism activities between Japan and Korea. 
2. Roland Villinger ,Managing Director, McKinsey&Company, became a FIAC (Foreign Investment Advisory Council) member in 2007 and Vice Chairman in 2009.  He has provided consultation on investment in Seoul.
3. Anne Ladouceur, the CEO of K4E Consulting and the founder of Korea4Expats.com, has been a  FIAC member since 2000. She has provided precious advice on Seoul City’s development and investment.
4. Sherpa Tenzi  Secretary, Non-resident Nepali Association, he has helped introduce Korean engineering technology to the world over theh past 14 years through his participation in the construction of the Hydroelectric Power Plant in Nepal.
5. Zografos Aristotelis, Head Orthodox Metropolis of Korea , he has been teaching Greek culture and history at Hankuk University of Foreign Studies for six years and helping students from low-income families.
6. Paolo De Maria, Italian Food Style Education Representative Chef and  best-selling author of “Pasta e Basta”, an Italian cook book, he has contributed greatly to the cultural exchange between Italy and Korea.
7. Peter Sam Nguyen, Catholic priest, Lecturer, Religion Department at Sogang University, he has provided language training for the  Vietnamese in Korea and has helped foreign nationals living in Korea, including Vietnamese migrant workers and immigrants (Vietnamese women married to Korean men).
8. Marcus von Engel, Senior Executive and Technology Consultant at Accenture, he has been living in Korea and working in the technology sector for over 8 years, and has been very active promoting activities for expatriates as commodore of Seoul’s first sailing yacht club, the first expatriate president of Seoul’s oldest wine club, and is a key member of the Seoul Finance Forum to promote Seoul as a financial hub for North Asia.
9. Hans-Alexander Kneider, Professor, Hankuk University of Foreign Studies, has lived in Korea for 22 years. He has published many books on the relations between Germany and Korea.
10. Raimund Royer, Doctor Jaseng Hospital of Oriental Medicine, was Korea’s first foreign doctor of oriental medicine.
11. Mohamed Kamal Dafaallab, Officer, Libyan Economic Cooperation Bureau in Seoul, has promoted the Chungyechon restoration project through the major media of the Middle East and is helping people from the Middle East settle down in Korea.
12. Adam Abdel-Hameed, Translator and Culture & Public Information Officer at the United Arab Emirates Embassy has contributed to the cultural exchange between Sudan and Korea.  He has introduced Sudanese culture to Korea and participated in diverse Seoul city cultural events of Seoul city.
13. Pingan Yang is Chief Representative of the CCPIT Korea Office. He has contributed greatly to the trade, economic exchanges, and cooperation for investment between China and Korea.
14. Peter Bartholomew is  Vice President of IRC Limited. Having lived in a traditional Korean house (hanok) for 35 years, he has advocated the preservation of hanok and contributed greatly to the preservation of Korea’s cultural heritage.
15. Didier Beltois, General Manager of the Intercontinental Hotel, has dedicated himself to the promotion of Seoul through yearly events.
16. Pankaj Mohan, a historian from India, is a professor of Korean Ancient History. He has received an honourary citizenship for introducing Korean history to the world.
17. Vitaly Nikitich Ignatenko of the Russian news agency Itar-Tass participated in the Global Korea 2009 Conference.

In the words of Mayor Oh, “These people raised the brand value of Seoul and enhanced the city's urban competitiveness. We will do our best to help them feel like Seoul is as comfortable as their hometown and live happily,"

Previous honorees include some famous names such as Brian Orser, Gus Hiddink, Hines Ward, Jackie Chan, but most are regular folks who are seen to have made some form of contribution to Seoul and/or to Korean society. To be eligible, a candidate must have lived in Seoul for three consecutive years or more or have lived in Seoul for a total of five years or more. Heads of public organizations, heads of groups with more than 10 members or 10 or more citizens may make recommendations.

Honorary citizens are invited to various events organized by the city and are given an opportunity to actively participate in the city’s administration. Honorary citizens are also given free admissions to Seoul Museum of Art, Seoul Museum of History and Seoul Grand Park.

*based on the introductory comments at the 28 October ceremony.

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