Mayor Young-gil Song, of the Global City of Incheon in South Korea, Visits Philadelphia and Councilman David Oh



By Vesko Kostic, for GPA -- On May 16th, 2012, Philadelphia Councilman David Oh hosted a day-long visit to Philadelphia for Mayor Young-gil Song of Incheon, South Korea, along with fourteen other delegates from South Korea. “I was very excited and pleased to host the Mayor of Incheon and the Korean delegation where I had the opportunity to showcase some of what Philadelphia has to offer” said Councilman Oh. The visit is part of an ongoing initiative by Councilman Oh to raise the international profile of Philadelphia and attract international employers and investors to create new jobs in the city.

Councilman Oh is the Chairman of City Council’s Committee on Global Opportunities and the Creative/Innovative Economy. “My job as the Chairman of this committee," Councilman Oh said, "is to build relationships with elected officials and companies from around the world to promote Philadelphia as a globally competitive city. Incheon is a city of 2.8 million people, an international free trade zone with almost 20,000 manufacturing jobs. This is the type of city that we need to align ourselves with.”

Incheon has a population of 2.7 million people and is establishing itself as a business hub of Northeast Asia. The city has close to 20,000 manufacturing companies, one of the largest airports in the world and a brand new $40 Billion, 1,500 acre master planned section called Songdo City that is being positioned as a high tech, sustainable international business hub.

Mayor Song is known for his commitment to international trade and growth, along with being an avid supporter of democracy. Before taking office as the 5th popularly elected Mayor of Incheon, he was a democratic movement student activist and member of the Korean National Assembly.

Along with meeting Philadelphia's Mayor Nutter, the delegation also met with City Council President Darrell Clarke and other members of Council. After a reception at the beautiful Philadelphia Museum of Art -- wherein Mayor Song was greeted by Deputy Mayor Alan Greenberger, Select Greater Philadelphia CEO Tom Morr, Honorary Consul Harris Baum and International Visitors Council President Nancy Gilboy -- the South Korean Mayor gave a lecture at the Lauder Institute of Management and International Studies at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania. Their night ended with a reception for City and State elected officials along with representatives from Philadelphia’s Korean community at the Union League.

Prior to Mayor Song’s visit, Councilman Oh went to the Korean Consulate in New York City to meet with Eui-kwa Chung, Speaker of the National Assembly of South Korea, to promote Philadelphia as a globally competitive city where Korean companies can and should invest.

With the actions and practices of politicians like Mayor Song and Councilman Oh, the need for cities to be “global” has increasingly become apparent. Cities, even ones as far apart as Incheon and Philadelphia, can only become greater by working together. We applaud this visit as one of the many signs that shows Philadelphia as a truly global city.