December 19, 2017 | Spotlight

Glynn County hosts Korean officials as Institute facilitates new exchange

Glynn County hosts Korean officials as Institute facilitates new exchange

Writer: Roger Nielsen

Glynn County’s new partnership with South Korea’s Taean County has already produced results: Mayor Sang-Gi Han learned a new English phrase when he visited Brunswick to launch the international exchange—“Go Dawgs!”

Han led a Taean County delegation to Brunswick to sign an agreement with Glynn County leaders that establishes an educational and cultural collaboration. In addition to the ceremonial signing, Han and Taean County Chairwoman Yonghee Lee toured Jekyll Island, the Port of Brunswick and other key sites in the coastal county.

The Institute of Government facilitated the new partnership, which will allow two similar counties to share knowledge about education and enhancing best practices in government administration. Both counties are tourism and vacation centers located on seacoasts, and have similar population size and economic development needs.

Commission Chairman Bill Brunson hosted the delegation and signed the agreement on behalf of Glynn County. “There are so many commonalities. We each have an ocean, and tourism is huge in both economies. They also have a big fishing industry, as we do,” Brunson said.

At a celebratory gathering, Brunson presented Mayor Han with a red and black University of Georgia jersey. The commission chair explained that while neither he nor Han understood the other’s language, he made sure Han learned to say “Go Dawgs!”

The Institute’s International Center facilitated the new collaboration on behalf of the Governors Association of Korea, one of the Institute’s long-time training partners. GAOK asked the Institute to suggest potential partners for Taean County, and the Institute put Taean County leaders in touch with their counterparts in Glynn County, according to Taesik Yun, head of the Institute’s Korea program. “Taean County already collaborates with China and other Asian countries, and leaders there wanted to expand their global partnership to western countries,” Yun said.

The exchange could include sending a Glynn County leadership delegation to Korea. Brunson noted that no return trip has been scheduled but pointed out that signing a memorandum of understanding is a solid beginning. “I think it’s an extraordinarily successful first step. Taean County is very progressive, and I think we could learn a lot by cooperating,” he said.

The Institute facilitated a similar collaboration between Athens-Clarke County and Seoul’s Seodaemun District. That partnership began in 2015 and resulted in leadership delegations from both governments traveling overseas to explore international exchange opportunities.