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Interview - Jeonju

Describe very shortly what are the lessons drawn from your city since it has been designated City of Gastronomy?
After being designated as a Creative City of Gastronomy by UNESCO, Jeonju has been requested for many domestic and foreign interviews on television, newspaper, radio, and other media outlets. Through such intense interest, Jeonju has experienced the way in which the designation as a Creative City of Gastronomy by UNESCO has enhanced the value of the city brand and city awareness. Based on this experience, Jeonju expects the possibility of ripple effects on tourism, economy, and other general areas.
What is the value of the Creative Cities Network (CCN) membership to your city (especially in your specific domain)?  How does it contribute to the social and economic aspects of the city? What has your city gained from the network since the joining, or how has been the network beneficial to your city?
With the designation as a UNESCO Creative Cities Network, Jeonju can promote its image as creative city of food to the world. By doing so, Jeonju’s cultural competency will be recognised by the citizens of the world; the cultural industry as well as the tourism industry will be developed; and Jeonju citizens’ new understanding about its cultural assets and local patriotism will be inspired. Positive images of the UN and UNESCO will give positive effects to enhance the image of Jeonju and will help to promote city marketing. Although it will not give economic benefit promptly and tangibly, it will be expected to create a variety of added values depending upon Jeonju’s efforts.
Are there cities of the Network whose experience has been particularly interesting for your city?
Jeonju was fascinated by Chengdu of China, which considers the gastronomic industry as an important driving force for economic development by connecting the tourism industry, restaurant industry, agricultural and livestock industry, and other industries; and promotes the industry as the core industrial strategy.
What has your city brought to the network, as a member of CCN? Are there cities that you have supported in some domain, in particular?
Due to the short schedule, Jeonju had no opportunity to support other cities. However, in September 2012, Jeonju was invited to the Food Festival in Popayán, Columbia, the first Creative City of Gastronomy, and introduced Jeonju and Korean food to participants at the Festival. In particular, the demonstration of how to cook Jeonju Bibimbap drew positive responses from the local people and media. What is more, in the 2012 Jeonju Bibimbap Festival, Jeonju officially invited Honorary President Alberto Gonzalez of Popayán’s Gastronomic Corporation and city officials of the food industry in Chengdu and promoted mutual understanding as well as exchanges.
In light of your concrete experience, why do you think networking for culture is important for the cities today?
Jeonju agrees with the assertion of Charles Landry, an English city designer and a founder of COMEDIA, that because today’s images of cities everywhere in the world look similar and have no uniqueness, cultural particularities can increase the added values of a city.
Culture provides an environment for creative activities, suggests a promising perspective which sustains a city and makes it possible to accept everything and to integrate them, so that a synergistic effect between different areas can be created and new ideas can be produced. 
What does it takes, namely in terms of budget and planning, to ensure an active role as Creative City, namely in your specific field and within your sub-network?
Jeonju believes that communication space is required to maintain and reinforce the programs and networks for sharing experience and cultures between cities. For this, measures to secure the necessary budget must be devised.
What are the challenges and difficulties, both financial and organizational, the city had to go through to ensure its work as member of the Network?
After being designated as a Creative City of Gastronomy, a suggestion to establish an exclusive division to take care of the operation of the organization has been continually presented. However, due to the limited budget and human resources in the local government, the formation of the organization is not currently possible.
What are the links between the local dimension of you commitment and your national government? 
With the designation of the Creative City of Gastronomy by UNESCO as momentum, in order to succeed to the tradition of Jeonju’s own particular food and to develop and integrate it with cultures, tourism, and other areas, Jeonju has promoted cooperation with the national government and will do its best to receive financial support from the government.
Can you mention some particularly significant activities that have been implemented after the designation?
Since Jeonju was designated as a Creative City of Gastronomy by UNESCO in May 2012, in order to reinforce the relationship and exchanges with other creative cities of gastronomy, Jeonju has established an MOU with Popayán in September 2012. The cities agreed to expand exchanges and cooperation with each other. In the opening ceremony at the celebration event for the designation of Jeonju as a Creative City of Gastronomy by UNESCO, city officials and citizens from Chengdu, Popayán, and other Creative Cities of Gastronomy participated in the opening ceremony and celebrated Jeonju’s designation.
What are the future projects of your city in order to consolidate its position within the CCN?
Jeonju will do its utmost to improve the Creative City Network by sharing gastronomic information and by supporting activities to improve the economic and cultural developments between Creative Cities of Gastronomy. In addition, by utilising a variety of cultural assets such as gastronomy, music, crafts, movie, literature, etc., Jeonju will establish a cooperative system with Creative Cities Network in other categories to promote cultural diversities.
(Rak-ki Choi, 2013)
Rak-Ki Choi
Traditional Culture Division Chief
Jeonju City