The World Citizens Organization (WCO) is a civil society, set up in 1987, at times of real threats to international air travel, when some countries schemed to boycott the1988 Olympic Games before its opening in Seoul. World class athletes would be denied their chance to compete after years of training.
In the face of this crisis, Dr. KWAAK YoungHoon and individuals who had experienced war and devastations in different parts of the world created a grass root organization – WCO – to appeal to many heads of states to stop the political boycott and to ensure full participation for all athletes to the peaceful Seoul Olympic Games. This ‘Peace Movement’ initiated by common citizens eventually received the endorsements from world leaders, and the Seoul Olympics was able to proceed as planned. The citizens effort miraculously broke down the wall that had separated people at times of Cold War since 1945.
After the Seoul Olympics, WCO channeled its energy to reconnect the human ties on the Eurasian Continent by helping to revive the ancient Silk Road Spirit. At conferences held in the Chinese cities of Xian, Zhengzhou and Lianyungang, many experts and government officials concurred with the vision of WCO to help develop a ‘New Global Silk Road’ and connect all countries beyond the ‘Eurasian Continental Land bridge’ so that planet Earth could become a reachable ‘Global Village’.
To ease the global tension created by the ‘Iron Curtain’ and the ‘Bamboo Curtain’, WCO and Dr. KWAAK participated in the UNDP Tumen River Area Development Program, which was designed to assist Russia, China and North Korea in developing the common neighbouring region.
Starting from the 1990 in Beijing, WCO had proposed to the Chinese Government to preserve the ancient heritage of the Silk Road cities at times of rapid economic changes were taking place. In these matters, and also in launching of the Silk Road Mayors Forum initiative, WCO cooperated with Mr. George Kuang from Taipei (UNDP Silk Road Area Development Program) and with Mr. Wojciech Hübner of Warsaw (UNDP Silk Road Initiative).
In 2006 the first Silk Road Mayors Forum (SRMF) was hosted in Uzbekistan Tashkent, in collaboration with WCO under the auspices of the United Nations. However, UNDP exhausted its funds after two more SRMFs in China Lanzhou-2007 and Kazakhstan Almaty-2008, leaving the SRMF original founder WCO to carry on with this annual forum in Korea Pyeongtaek-2009; Iran Shiraz–2010; Russia Grozny-2011; Türkiye Gaziantep-2012; Korea Yeosu-2013; China Urumqi-2014 and; Türkiye Bursa-2015 for the Silk Road communities to meet annually. Bursa, the ancient Silk Road City and the first capital of the Ottoman Empire, was entrusted by WCO to host the important Milestone 10th SRMF-2015, and to start a new decade of Silk Road activities. For 2016, Iran Qazvin.
Throughout the past years, H. Tokhtaev, Tashkent; Zhang Jinliang, Lanzhou; Akhmetzhan Yessimov, Almaty; Myung-Ho Song, Pyeongtaek; Mehran Itemadi, Shiraz; M.M. Khuchiev, Grozny; Asim Guzelbey, Gaziantep; Chung-seog Kim, Yeosu; Ilham Sabir, Urumqi; Recep Altepe, Bursa; Masoud Nosrati, Qazvin; Ibrahim Evrim, Antalya; Yong-li Zhao and Chau Ting Candy, Beijing; Sabina Dazdarvic, Beograd; Emil Umetaliev, Bishkek; Harvey Cox, Boston; Boutros Galli, Cairo; Hanne Strong, Copenhagen; Thomas Bauer, Darwin; Fuat Ozcorekci, Gaziantep; Ibragim Idilov, Grozny; Man Kong Wong, Hong Kong; Maria Freitas, Lisbon; Magnus Bartlett, London; Stan Myers, Newton; Alvin Curling, Ontario; Sandy Vance, San Francisco; MyungHyun Lee and SangJoon Lee, Seoul; James Mancham, Seychelles; Hashem Mazaherizadeh, Shiraz; Ulf Sormark, Stockholm; Stephane Chevalier, Strasbourg; Peter Woods, Sydney; Mohammad Khodadadi, Tehran; Norio Yamamoto, Tokyo; Kucevic Semsudin, Tutin; Jick Kong Chan, Toronto; Sergei Posledov, Voronezh and many, many world citizens have all contributed their significant time and effort to make WCO the vital organization that it is today.
PHILOSOPHY OF WCO
Nobody on Earth is the same, and each one is unique;
no place on Earth is the same, and every place is unique.
Based on this philosophy, participants in the past 25 years of WCO activities and its decade of Silk Road Mayors Forum have addressed the following issues together to revive the ancient Silk Road spirit and to enlighten World Citizens’ good will and critical intelligence:
“Cities should remain unique, ecologically and culturally.”
This concept has been discussed from the very first WCO Silk Road activities.
“Citizens should be served, and not governed.”
This attitude has been promoted since the WCO 7th SRMFGazinatep-2012;
“Civilization is cumulative human activities, and naturally and necessarily it differs to each other.”
This ethos has been acquired and WCO celebrates the differences of civilizations.
“Citizens inner life must be nourished and prejudice must be unlearned.”
This paradigm has been introduced for citizens to experience to trust people beyond borders.
Beyond and Between
“Civil societies should be able to work and live in the Planet Earth.”
This value frees world citizens to help evolve Global Village Civilization to be more harmonious.