요르고스 요르간타스(Georgios Georgantas) 대표가 4월 29일자로 ICRC 한국사무소에 부임했습니다. 요르간타스 대표는 서울로 부임하기 전 부룬디, 중앙아프리카공화국 등 주요 분쟁 지역에서 대표단 단장을 역임했으며, 제네바 본부에서 북아프리카지역 부국장을 맡은 바 있습니다.
[요르고스 요르간타스 대표 부임 인사말]
I arrived in Seoul on 29 of April to take up the post of the ICRC’s representative in the Republic of Korea. I took over from a dear colleague and old friend, Gianni Volpin, who opened the institution’s office in Seoul in 2015 and headed it for the first two years of its life. I was pleased to find out from the very beginning of my mission that I would inherit a well-functioning office, with highly qualified and committed personnel. I am very grateful to Gianni for this and wish him all the best in his future endeavors with ICRC.
My first impressions from the work, the office, the colleagues, the interlocutors and also the city itself and its people are genuinely positive. Everybody at our office seems to be hard working and devoted to the realization of our objectives. The people I already met professionally expressed their sincere appreciation of the ICRC, its history and work worldwide and encouraged me to work towards strengthening our presence in the country. Even the people I met outside the working environment are friendly, polite and always doing their best to help me settle.
So far, everything runs smoothly, yet, I have no illusions regarding the challenges ahead. Our office in Seoul may be small by ICRC standards but it has rather ambitious objectives. Taking into account the discussions I had with various colleagues in Geneva, the briefings I received from Gianni upon my arrival in Seoul and my own first assessment of what I found, I can now say that the immediate priorities for the ICRC in South Korea seem to be clear.
First and foremost, we need to formalize our presence in the country and give the ICRC the legal status it normally has in the countries where it operates, i.e. that of an international organization. Thus, I intend to pursue and even intensify the efforts already undertaken by my predecessor, in order to sign as soon as possible a headquarters agreement with the Republic of Korea.
Our relationship with the Korean Red Cross is a special one and deserves to be cherished and further developed. Since the first time I met with the KRC leadership, I felt a warm welcome and a real will to assist me and guide me in my work. I plan to maintain the strong ties that bind our institution with the KRC, be open to their suggestions and advice and explore any new opportunity to engage with them in new projects, creative ideas and innovative solutions to the problems we face. My door will always be open to our KRC friends.
Likewise, our programme that aims at promoting International Humanitarian Law with relevant South Korean institutions is one to which I attach particular importance, not only because it is part of our institutional mandate worldwide, recognized by practically all the countries, but also because I am utterly convinced that the expertise we have acquired in this subject after decades of relevant work, puts us in a unique position to disseminate IHL principles to all those who need to be aware thereof.
Our presence in South Korea is still relatively new and it is only natural that few people know we are here and even fewer know what we do. I believe that it is our duty to strengthen our public communication, find creative and effective ways to tell people who we are, what we do worldwide, in the region and in Korea and above all share our values and fundamental principles. Only this way can we seriously hope to secure increased political and financial support in the country, for our humanitarian operations and campaigns all over the world.
In a nutshell, a lot of work and a number of challenges lie ahead of us but I am confident that with help from all of you my mission in this beautiful country will be successful. I look forward to working closely with each and every one of you over the next two years.