Volunteers play a crucial role in any type of international sports events. A great example was the "Game Makers" who landed their helping hand as the supporters' group during the 2012 London Olympics.
The Gwangju Universiade Organizing Committee (GUOC) reflected such efforts and started to organize groups of volunteers from an early date.
Ten thousand people are scheduled to work as volunteers during the Gwangju Universiade. They will work as civil diplomats in Gwangju, South and North Jeolla Provinces and North Chungcheong Province throughout the Universiade period.
A special ceremony on May 30 was launched to celebrate the "U-supporters". The ceremony officially proclaims the start of their support and pledge to work as a sincere member of the Universiade.
Seven thousand volunteers participated in the ceremony, and the GUOC Presidents Yoon Jang-hyun and Kim Hwang-sik gave their utmost support throughout the event.
The ceremony included two volunteers who took an oath for their commitment for the games, musical performances, and a briefing of the Universiade's official interpretation application service.
The supporters will carry out various activities at each and every corner of the Uniersiade as event personnels, transporters or interpreters. Below are some of those volunteer workers who draw particular attention.
The oldest member is Kim Jong-sik, 86, who will work as a Japanese interpreter. Kim studied Japanese in middle school in Japan when Korea was under the Japanese occupation. He has since continued to help his friends and colleagues with his Japanese skills. Kim said he would provide language services for the Gwangju Universiade as a proud member representing the city and the nation as a whole.
Suk Da-yeong, 13, is the youngest volunteer. She once passed the first phase of the test for "Junior Interpreters," held by the Gwangju City Government. Then again she applied to become one of the interpreters for the Gwangju Universiade, and was successful. Suk, who lived in Canada for two years from 2011 to 2013, said she was ready to use her talent and experience and to do her best, in order to realize her dream to become a diplomat.
The couple of Shin Dong-chul, 60, and Cho Eun-hee, 54, is to work as English interpreters. They lived in the United States for 10 years. Shin in particular has a a professional golf instructor certification issued by the U.S. Golf Teachers Federation. The couple, who moved to Gwangju to live from Seoul 24 years ago, said the Gwangju Unversiade would be a great opportunity for the city to show off its flavor and potential to international athletes and spectators.
Weber Namsun, 61, has a long history of working as a volunteering interpreter. She has participated five times as an interpreter for the German language for the Gwangju Biennale. Now, she reports to work once a week at the Gwangju National Museum to offer interpretation service covering art exhibits. Dispatched to Germany from 1975 to 1998 as a nurse, she is fluent in German and English. During the Universiade, she will work as an interpreter for the Heads of Delegation and VIPs.
The GUOC has been implementing various occupational education programs to nurture quality staff and volunteers.
The committee opened a website to recruit the U-supporters in December 2012, and two months later held the opening ceremony of a school for the supporters.
The committee went on to offer education for the volunteering interpreters starting from 2010. A total of 2,600 people have received the special education provided by 10 designated universities.
From November 2014 to February this year, the GUOC has selected 10,000 supporters through exams and interviews. The supporters will be dispatched to many different competition venues and administrative divisions.
"The U-supporters will play an important role as they are the ones who will stay the closest to the athletes, officials and spectators. We will do our best to make the Universiade an event which everybody will enjoy through the support of the volunteers," said a GUOC official.
For more information, contact:
Jiyoung Lee, Foreign Press Officer
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