Saemaul Undong, based on its spirit of diligence, self-help, and cooperation, gathered meager strength of individual men and women to form a powerful community. Many such communities, in turn, groomed our society into a healthy nation that developed into today’s Korea. It was truly a model case of our country’s development. Without diligence, no one can have progress. Short of self-help spirit, there can be no community ethics. And healthy community cannot be trusted to those who are not cooperating with one another. When Korea was one of the poorest countries on earth, Saemaul Undong appeared and helped Korea become one of the richest countries. Now we can apply this Saemaul spirit as the basic norm of democratic citizenship to any era and to any culture to build a Better Community Living Together. This is why we need to continue with our Saemaul Undong even in this 21st century.
Saemaul Undong is a practical tool that helps poor people help themselves to get out of poverty by harnessing the spirit of diligence, self-help, and cooperation, and it is a democratic virtue that brings helpless people together to form a helpful community through sharing, service, and caring. Saemaul Undong is also a DNA that connects individual progress with that of community, and ultimately with that of the nation. In that vein, it is a driving force behind an idealistic economic, social, cultural, environmental, and peace-making community that may be developed in our humanity, and the means to build such a community.
Therefore, Saemaul Undong’s core value has been internationally recognized more and more as the policy instrument for the realization of a Global Peace-making Community Living Together. Furthermore, Saemaul Undong can still be a useful and quite effective tool to solve many an economic, social, cultural, and environmental issue our nation is facing in the 21st century. Most of the problems we have now stem from the lack of our consciousness as a community. Saemaul Undong can fix such problems and this is why we have to revitalize Saemaul Undong domestically as well.
During the 1970s, Saemaul Undong led our nation’s modernization through the formation of ‘economic community’. Since 1980s, it has been helping our nation’s progress by adding another dimension – a ‘social community’. Now in this 21st century, by grooming a ‘cultural community’ and an ‘environmental community’ Saemaul Undong can elevate our nation’s image in the international arena, and by establishing the foundation of ‘peace-making community’ it can be on the frontline to open up a politically and ideologically closed world. Let us start with Family Saemaul Undong to foster a healthy local community, and based on Local Community Saemaul Undong, let us realize the respective region’s progress, and finally, another era of sustainable national prosperity. Saemaul Undong will establish an economic, social, cultural, and environmental platform where no individual or community is rejected for any reason whatsoever. Likewise Saemaul Undong will contribute to completion of a global village where all global citizens get along peacefully together enjoying a better life.
If Saemaul Undong has been the engine for Korea’s growth over the last 50 years, it can become an engine for the mankind’s growth over the next 500 years. Whereas the Saemaul Undong has been the driving force for Korea’s national progress in the past, it can now become the driving force for the peace and prosperity of entire global citizenship. It will be a seed for common wellbeing of the humanity defending the mankind from poverty and disease, and, as a torch of cooperation, it will light up an Open World free and clear from politics, ideology, and religious as well as cultural differences. Of course, this will be possible only when the meager strength of individual men and women are gathered together from Korea’s 2.1 million Saemaul Undong members, 5 million Saemaul Undong families, 50 million Saemaul Undong citizens, and over 2 billion Saemaul Undong global citizens.
To achieve this goal, we need to raise many young and able Saemaul leaders in and outside Korea. Our old Saemaul leaders have dedicated their lives to Saemaul Undong to build up our nation. Help us not to let their life-long ‘service’ to our nation wasted, by putting the ‘sharing’ into daily practice to spread the liberty and equality among the global citizens, and by ‘caring’ for the generations to come. I will work hard to sustain Saemaul Undong’s propulsion power. For that purpose, I would like to open a Saemaul Undong Hall of Fame and memorialize all those well-deserved Saemaul leaders and other heroes who have worked hard to develop their community and nation through Saemaul Undong.