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40 years ago, Incheon became a direct-controlled municipality - the 40-year-history of Incheon as an independent city

Incheon launches a Citizen’s Advisory Group, plans to open up the old Mayor’s residence to the public, and host a variety of other events for the anniversary

On May 4, Incheon launched the Citizen’s Advisory Group to help organize the “Incheon Independence 40th Anniversary Event,” and host its first group meeting.

Incheon is celebrating the 40th anniversary of its independence from Gyeonggi-do - Incheon became a direct-controlled municipality on July 1, 1981. To celebrate its 40th anniversary as an independent city with its citizens, take a look back at the city’s history, and present a vision for the city’s future, Incheon will host a variety of events leading up to and after July 1.

The “Incheon 40 Years of Independence Citizen’s Advisory Group” features ten experts, including experts on local Incheon affairs, experts in urban and administrative affairs, event planners, and members of the general public. Together, these experts will offer advice to Incheon on how to organize the upcoming 40th anniversary event.

▲ On May 4, Incheon launched the Citizen’s Advisory Group to help organize the “Incheon Independence 40th Anniversary Event,” and host its first group meeting.

Incheon Mayor Park Nam-choon said, “It has been 40 years since Incheon was promoted to a directly controlled municipality. To celebrate Incheon’s independence with its people, we are going to work with the people, right from the beginning.” He added, “Over the past 40 years, Incheon has grown into a mega-city, and size-wise it is the largest municipal city in Korea. It boasts a population of 3 million residents, and it has matured into a global economic hub with an international airport, ports, and a free economic zone.”

As for the Group’s Chairperson, Hwang Gyu-cheol, the Chairperson of the Incheon Sarang Movement Citizen’s Council, was elected by the Group members, and Incheon National University’s Professor Seo Jong-gook was elected as Vice-Chairperson.

Chairperson Hwang Gyu-cheol said, “I understand the responsibility I have been given as the leader of this Citizen’s Advisory Group for the 40th anniversary event. I will do my best to consider the opinions and ideas from our advisors and the public to help make the event a truly meaningful one for everyone.”

Once the Group elected its Chairperson, Park Yae-yeon, a policy planning officer at the Incheon Metropolitan City Government presented the City’s master plan (draft) for the event. The 40th anniversary event will feature four core modules.

▲ Signboard unveiling ceremony to celebrate the promotion of Incheon as a directly controlled municipality in 1981


First, as part of the “commemorative events” module, Incheon will host a ceremony to celebrate the 40th anniversary of Incheon earning its independence, and an event to commemorate the opening of the Mayor’s residence up for public access. To celebrate the 40th anniversary of Incheon’s independence with its citizens, Incheon is hoping to organize an event at the City Hall and the Mayor’s residence to return the old Mayor’s residence, which had been used since 1966, to Incheon’s citizens.

Second, as part of the “media and academic events” module, Incheon is planning a press conference led by the Mayor of Incheon, and a debating session to mark the 40th anniversary of Incheon’s independence. The “Academic Debate” session (Session 1),” where debaters will look back at Incheon’s development as a city and present the future vision for Incheon, will focus on what Incheon has been able to achieve so far and what challenges lie ahead for the city. Then, in the “Talk Concert” session (Session 2), experts from different fields will discuss the regeneration of Incheon moving forward.

The third module is the “immersive events” module. This module will feature a debating session featuring the Mayor and regular citizens, and a short Open Port Culture Night event. Meanwhile, the fourth “exhibition and viewing events” module will include a tour around the old Mayor’s residence, an outdoor film screening session along with a Q&A with film directors.

During its inaugural meeting, the Advisory Group suggested the need for events that allow different generations to share their experiences together, and events that can make citizens feel a sense of pride for the city of Incheon. Also, the Group advised “untact” events considering the ongoing threat of COVID-19. Moving forward, Incheon will tinker with the overall timeline of the 40th anniversary event in liaison with the Citizen’s Advisory Group.

Yeo Jung-hyeop, Director of Policy Planning, said, “Since this event will get under way with the threat of COVID-19 always looming around us, we will make every effort to put the health and safety of our citizens first, and keep the proceedings simple yet meaningful.”

▲ The 40th anniversary event celebrating Incheon’s independence will feature a variety events, including a ceremony to celebrate the 40th anniversary of Incheon’s independence and the opening of the old Mayor’s residence to the public.


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