GREEN DRINKS SONGDO (GDS)
What would you need or miss the most when you live in a foreign country? It must be a community with people. It would not be so lonely or distressful if you can talk to someone else comfortably and freely, understanding each other living in a foreign country and even helping each other. Also, it would be more so if there is a place to share conversation and ideas on familiar topics and sympathize with one another
There is a community in Songdo, Incheon that started with such wishes. It is called the ‘Green Drinks Songdo.’
Many foreigners and their families live in Songdo International City in Incheon. Although they had had the desire for their own community, it was not easy to start one.
But in February 2019, Alberto G Perera from Spain, who is in the doctoral program at Incheon National University, finally started a meaningful gathering. The name of the meeting is ‘Green Drinks Songdo (GDS).’
‘Green Drinks’ is an informal networking event where eco-friendly people meet casually, drinking simple beverages. ‘Green Drinks’ began in London in 1989, and now it is continued in many countries.
“At the beginning of 2019, at the office party held in commemoration of the New Year’s Day at the EAAFP Secretariat in Songdo, those who are concerned with environment gathered together and discussed how to strengthen the networks of individuals who are interested in the newly constructed urban environment of Songdo. At the party, people from various countries shared their experiences in each country, and some of them realized that they had previously participated in green drinks in different parts of the world. After sharing some wine, we decided to start “Green Drinks songdo.”
Alberto, who desperately wanted a community, gathered many people and started the “Green Drinks songdo” in February 2019, and it had its first meeting in April.
It started as a non-profit organization with no membership fees and no particular formalities, or merely a comfortable gathering, but more and more people are joining the community as people began to share their thoughts on the environment.
Currently, GDS aims to become an open but intellectually charming platform for both foreigners in Korea and international residents of Songdo to meet and learn from each other. Besides, GDS is gathering people with diverse backgrounds and those who are willing to get involved with and discuss environmental issues and challenges and wishes to grow into a perfect 'casual networking platform' that encourages free discussions with people who care about eco-friendliness and sustainability without reserve.
Currently, UN organizations in Songdo International City, GCF Secretariat, IGC, and professors of Incheon National University are participating in the community, and the community looks forward to the communication with various leaders of Incheon, including the Mayor.
“Green Drinks does not force anyone. It sells nothing, and no one comes here to find a job. It is just someplace that people feel free to come. I think it's great to mix with various people to share ideas and discuss things. In Korea, there are many cases where you need to meet specific conditions and require an invitation, but we are not like that. Anyone can come. It’s open to all and everyone is welcome.”
Green Drinks songdo
< Organizing team members & statements >
Alberto G Perera (Spain) / INU: "As a new urban development built from scratch, Songdo needs strong references to remark its identity. I believe its people is one of the greatest assets this place has, and GDS helps connecting the dots between individuals with diverse expertise in an open platform, to raise environmental awareness and increase community engagement.“
Vivian Fu (Hong Kong) / EAAFP: "As a foreigner here, even though Songdo was established as an international city and there are lots of expats from different parts of the world, we need something to draw people with like minds together. GDS can be such platform for sharing issues about the environment in any aspects. It also helps to build up network for people who think alike, work in this field or even just interested in the 'green-related' topics".
Solongo Khurelbaatar (Mongolia) / GCF: "GDS aims to be an informal, but intellectually vibrant platform to give both local Koreans and international residents of Songdo opportunities to meet each other and learn from each other. We do that by having a mix of both Korean and international speakers. Our audience is also a mix of locals and expats and we intend to keep both our audience and speakers as diverse as possible."
Hyeseon Do (Korea) / EAAFP: "GDS holds a monthly gathering at a good local restaurant and bar with a short inspiring guest talk. A perfect casual networking platform with people in Songdo who care about green and sustainability! Join us."
Qian Cheng (China) / UNESCAP: "GDS has brought new vibrance to life in Songdo. It’s a community of open-mindedness that unveils the human-stories behind big issues we all care about."
Sara Bennouna (Morocco) / UNESCAP: "GDS brings together people from various backgrounds and with different stories who are all willing to engage and discuss environmental topics and challenges. Every month, this gathering provides a platform for sharing experiences and expertise, from both speakers and participants :) All in a very open and casual atmosphere."