The annual GCS International Convention, which took place at the World Taekwondo headquarters in downtown Seoul, drew about 60 representatives from about 40 GCS national chapters around the world via a Zoom system.
Among the participating GCS member countries were Argentina, Aruba, Australia, Belgium, Bhutan, Cambodia, Cameroon, Colombia, Costa Rica, Curacao, Denmark, Ecuador, Guatemala, Haiti, Honduras, India, Iran, Japan, Jordan, Korea, Macau, Malaysia, Mongolia, Nepal, Singapore, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Trinidad and Tobago, the United States, Uzbekistan and Venezuela.
Among dignitaries, who attended the GCS virtual convention, were GCS International President Dr. Chungwon Choue; Dr. Huh Jong, president of the GCS Korea Chapter; Dr. Pornchai Mongkhonvanit, president of both the GCS Thailand Chapter and Siam University; Mr. Michel Idiaquez, president of GCS Honduras Chapterm who served as the Honduran ambassador to Korea; Ms. Maria Borello, president of GCS Guatemala Chapter and a WT Council member; Mr. Namdev Shirgaonker, president of both GCS India Chapter and India Taekwondo; Leuven University Emeritus Prof. Luc Reychler; and Mr. Kim In-sun, a WT Council member.
Also in attendance at the convention were Dr. Selma Li, president of GCS Portland, USA Chapter; Mr. Rick Shin, secretary general of World Taekwondo Pan America; Ms. Edina Lents, president of GCS Denmark Chapter; and Ms. Lisa Lents, vice president of GCS Denmark Chapter; Mr. Kim Hong-hi, president of GCS Venezuela Chapter; Mr. Yonten Tharchen, vice president of GCS Bhutan Chapter; Prof. Baek Mun-jong, president of GCS Uzbekistan Chapter; Mr. Milan Kwee, a senior official of GCS Singapore Chapter; Mr. Ko Young-seok, a board member of GCS International; Mr. Lee Dong-sup, president of GCS Macau Chapter; Mr. Lee Won-jong, secretary general of GCS Korea Chapter; and Dr. Seok-jae Kang, secretary general of GCS International.
GCS International, a Seoul-based, U.N.-affiliated non-governmental organization, was founded in 1979 by Dr. Young Seek Choue, the late father of Dr. Chungwon Choue, who has been serving as president of GCS International since 2006. With three major spirits of goodwill, cooperation and service-dedication, GCS International, with a global membership of 51 countries, strives to achieve its five movements of healthy society, better living, preservation of the nature, restoration of human dignity, and promotion of world peace.
The GCS Convention, which lasted about 2 hours and 40 minutes, started with the GCS Bell ringing by GCS International President Chungwon Choue, followed by the recitation of the GCS Charter and the GCS Membership pledge.
In his welcome remarks, GCS President Choue said, “Today’s virtual convention is a reminder of the pandemic, since we were supposed to meet physically in Chiang Mai, Thailand, on November 13.”
“GCS, like any other charitable or non-profit organizations, has been impacted. Just like World Taekwondo and the Taekwondo Humanitarian Foundation. But through the darkness, I believe that it is necessary for us to stand even taller than before” he said. “There is a quote from Pope Francis that I love and I wish to share the full quote: ‘Living for others is a rule of nature. We are all born to help each other. No matter how difficult it is, life is good when you are happy; but much better when others are happy because of you.’”
Dr. Choue continued to say, “The pandemic has given us an opportunity to reflect and reset. Through this convention, I hope that we can share our activities and ideas on how to shape the post-COVID world with our GCS values – goodwill, cooperation and service.
“This year, GCS has created some very meaningful programs. In May, GCS leaders in Pan America gathered together virtually to kickstart our activities and exchange ideas. The inaugural GCS International Virtual Workshop in July, with the participation of 40 countries, is another initiative to engage with our members. In September, we organized a virtual seminar on COVID-19, while the 2020 DMZ Peace Festival was held in a hybrid format in October.”
“Regardless of the pandemic, I intend to continue organizing virtual workshops and events as they are sustainable and efficient. Online poomsae is another means to keep our stakeholders physically active. In this regard, I was very happy with the success of the historic COVID-19 GCS Virtual International Taekwondo Championships in June, with the participation of 20 GCS national chapters. It was also very heartening to see refugee youths and children attending the virtual championships. I wish to thank GCS chapters in Portland, Denmark, Sri Lanka, and India for actively promoting these online competitions.”
“The GCS Achievement Programme is an excellent example of how we can contribute to humankind in a creative way. We must never forget that children and youths are the future, and education is a way to give them a better post-pandemic world.”
“I am pleased to announce that GCS International had an MOU with the World Hangung Association this morning at the WT headquarters. Hangung means hands archery. It combines the western dart game with Korean traditional archery and ‘Tuho’ or throwing sticks from a set distance into a canister, plus an electronic scoring system. Using both hands, the sport for all is especially good for the elderly and people with disabilities.
Dr. Choue said, “Together with taekwondo, I think that hands archery will play an active role in promoting the GCS Movement. We plan to donate Hangung sets to the refugee children at the Azraq refugee camp and World Taekwondo Cares students in Cambodia, Sri Lanka and Nepal.”
“One more thing to share with you is that GCS International joined the International Fair Play Committee as a full member on July 21.
“As we draw 2020 to a close, I look forward to 2021 with renewed hope and energy. Next year marks the 40th anniversary of the UN International Day of Peace on September 21, which as you may know was initiated by the GCS founder,” he said. “Next year, GCS International plans to organize various commemorative events, including a small peace concert to commemorate the 100th birthday of my late father and GCS founder, Dr. Young Seek Choue.”
He said that “the 2021 DMZ World Peace Forum is scheduled to be held from June 4 to 6, with the DMZ Peace Festival on June 5. On October 11 and 12, GCS International and World Taekwondo plan to organize an international forum on ‘Sport and Peace’ on the occasion of the World Taekwondo Championships in Wuxi, China. I wish to invite each of our GCS members to those events.”
Starting next year, Dr. Choue said, GCS International and the Asia Development Foundation plan to jointly organize an online taekwondo and Korean language education program for the global GCS family, WT Cares students and refugee children. There will be also an online Korean language contest, in which I hope your members will participate, he said.
Dr. Choue expressed his special thanks to Dr. Selma Li, president of GCS Portland and Ms. Edina Lents and Ms. Lisa Lents of GCS Denmark for their active GCS activities through taekwondo.
GCS President Choue concluded his welcoming remarks by saying, “Peace at heart, GCS in mind. That’s the motto that I carry with me every day. I hope that you will carry it with you too.”
After Dr. Choue’s speech, there was a progress report by GCS International Secretary General Dr. Seok-jae Kang and the showing of a GCS video on its 2020 activities.
Then came “A Meet and Greet Session” between participating GCS chapter members and GCS International President Choue.
MasTaekwondo made a special presentation, in which they promised to donate GCS International 12,000 U.S. dollars in advertising.
The introduction session was followed by a presentation time on GCS activities by a dozen GCS national chapters, including GCS Portland, Haiti, Honduras, Australia, India, Belgium, Denmark and Singapore. MasTaekwondo made a special presentation, in which they promised to donate GCS International 12,000 U.S. dollars in advertising. Mr. Stan Hyasatt of GCS Australia Chapter reported that they have established a government-registered, tax-exempt GCS organization. GCS Singapore Chapter reported they have 90 percent registered with its government for the launch of a tax-exempt GCS organization.
Mr. David Askinas made a presentation on the International Financial Structure, followed by the delivery ceremony of GCS Development Funds to Sri Lanka, Cambodia, Nepal and Jordan Azraq refugee camp.
The GCS donations, which will be delivered in kind and /or cash to the four countries, came from the International Center for Korean Culture (ICKC), GCS Portland Chapter, and GCS Denmark Chapter. Then the participants sang the GCS Song and the 2020 GCS International Convention was concluded by the GCS Bell ringing by Dr. Chungwon Choue.