Yeoncheon, Republic of Korea

  • City population: 
  • City/Urban area: 
  • Population Density: 
    Less than 300 inhabitants per km²
  • GDP – city: 
    Between USD 15,000 and USD 25,000
  • GDP - country: 
    USD$ 27,221
  • Average number of years of schooling: 

Lifelong learning contributing to the peaceful reunification of Korea

The Republic of Korea is the only ‘divided nation’ in the world. Yeoncheon is a military city in the northernmost part of the Republic of Korea, bordering on North Korea, and was at the geographical centre of the conflict during the Korean War.

Vision and motivation

The municipality of Yeoncheon believes that lifelong learning is key to development in the area. The city is thus working to improve its citizens’ life satisfaction and overall happiness by running tailored lifelong learning programmes.

Challenges and goals

98 per cent of the city’s land is defined as a ‘military facility protection zone’, and is subject to ‘metropolitan development restrictions’. As a result, the city has been unable to develop in such a way as to meet its residents’ needs. It is the smallest rural city in the metropolitan area, and the aforementioned restrictions have inevitably led to a constant decline in population since 1966.

Plan and implementation

‘TONG-IL JI-GI’ (Unification Keeper) is a lifelong learning programme unique to Yeoncheon. The city trains professional instructors and carries out initiatives designed to contribute to the peaceful reunification of North and South Korea by improving citizen awareness.

Two initiatives pertaining to the unification project have been launched. The first guides visitors at the border between South and North Korea. The second teaches young people the importance of unification and how they might prepare for the ‘Unification Era’.

In addition, Yeoncheon is committed to forming a village-centric community. It aims to solve problems by uniting the local community and contributing towards a better understanding of the region. The city also strives to create an atmosphere in which ‘anyone can learn to teach’.

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