Posted : 2016-01-06 15:15
Updated : 2016-01-07 22:08

Volunteers to promote taekwondo overseas

Members of the Taekwondo Peace Corps pose with World Taekwondo Peace Corps Foundation President Lee Joong-keun, center left, and Culture, Sports and Tourism Second Vice Minister Kim Jong, center right, during the volunteer group's 16th launching ceremony at the Korea Chamber of Commerce and Industry building in central Seoul, Wednesday.
/ Courtesy of Booyoung Group

By Nam Hyun-woo

More than 100 Korean taekwondo players will fly to 30 countries to spread the virtues of the combat sport and participate in exhibitions.

The World Taekwondo Peace Corps Foundation held a ceremony for the 16th group of the Taekwondo Peace Corps, Wednesday, and Booyoung Group Chairman Lee Joong-keun was sworn in as the foundation's third president.

The ceremony at the Korea Chamber of Commerce and Industry in central Seoul was presented by Lee, Culture, Sports and Tourism Second Vice Minister Kim Jong, 12 new members of the foundation's board, including The Korea Times President-Publisher Lee Chang-sup, and the volunteers who will be sent overseas this month.

The Taekwondo Peace Corps was established in 2008 to promote peace, mutual understanding, friendship and other virtues through the sport. So far, the program has sent 1,579 volunteers to all parts of the world. Due to the initial success of the program, the foundation was started in 2009, with World Taekwondo Federation President Choue Chung-won being the first president.

In the 16th group, 113 volunteers have been or will be sent to 11 countries in Asia (East Timor, Laos, Malaysia, India, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Sri Lanka, Hong Kong, Cambodia, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan), five in Africa (Gabon, Mauritius, the Seychelles, Algeria and Sudan) four in Oceania (Tuvalu, Papua New Guinea, Fiji and Kiribati), five in Europe (Russia, Sweden, Estonia, Poland and Bulgaria), and four countries in the Americas (Guadeloupe, Mexico, Honduras, Colombia and Paraguay). They're journeys will last for some 50 days to teach taekwondo, the Korean language and culture to local residents.

"As the president of the foundation, I am deeply honored to be allowed to spread Korea's traditional martial art, taekwondo," said President Lee. "I want all of you to be responsible and consider yourselves as civil ambassadors," he told the volunteers.

Under Lee's leadership, construction giant Booyoung Group has been actively involved in spreading taekwondo as part of its corporate social responsibility campaign. In 2006, the group made a 100 million-won donation to support taekwondo in Vietnam and paid another 100 million won for taekwondo federations in Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos the following year. It also granted a total of $1 million for taekwondo training centers in Laos, Cambodia and Myanmar.

In April, the group signed a six-year, $10 million partnership with the World Taekwondo Federation.

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