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SEVENTEEN’s first UNESCO speech in 3 languages: “We Did It Together”

SEVENTEEN‘s first UNESCO speech in 3 languages: “We Did It Together

K-pop group SEVENTEEN shared their sincere growth story for almost an hour, captivating youth representatives and fans worldwide at the 13th UNESCO Youth Forum. The event took place on the 15th (KST) at the UNESCO headquarters in Paris, France.

SEVENTEEN, consisting of S.Coups, Jeonghan, Joshua, Jun, Hoshi, Wonwoo, Woozi, DK, Mingyu, The8, Seungkwan, Vernon, and Dino, delivered a special session as the only group allocated a solo session during the forum, combining speeches and performances. 

The event was attended by Audrey Azoulay, UNESCO Director-General, Hyeon-kyu Han, Secretary-General of the UNESCO National Commission of Korea, national representatives from UNESCO member countries (194 countries), around 170 youth participants, and 550 general audience members.

Beginning the speech session, Seungkwan started by mentioning the special connection between his hometown Jeju Island and UNESCO. He expressed his gratitude by saying, “Jeju Island was the first in the world to be designated by UNESCO in three natural environment categories simultaneously. The little boy who dreamed of the future on this UNESCO-designated World Natural Heritage island is standing here today.”

Following this, Jun spoke about the unity among the members, acting as each other’s teachers since their mid-teens. He shared, “Since the day we first met in 2012 until now, I’ve had one conviction every day. That is, it may be difficult alone, but with 13 people, we can achieve it. We were each other’s teachers. We practiced together, created together, and gradually became better versions of ourselves. We may not be perfect individually, but together, we are the best team.”

Reflecting on the challenging process, Woozi mentioned, “We couldn’t have expected success like we have now from the beginning. There were many skeptical views like ‘You’re going to fail.’ The important thing was whether we could overcome these limitations together.”

Woozi attributed overcoming adversity to the passion for their dreams and the presence of the members. He emphasized, “Success didn’t come quickly, but the time we spent igniting passion together with 13 members was always enjoyable. The members were always cheerful, never losing their smiles. With various abilities and strengths in vocals, performance, and hip-hop, the members, who were initially imperfect, began to learn from each other and harmonize, creating the color of the team SEVENTEEN. SEVENTEEN’s unique education method, where we joyfully taught and learned from each other, was our growth method.”

Mingyu shared SEVENTEEN’s first charity activity where they realized the importance of sharing. In 2016, after receiving their first settlement in the fall, Mingyu wanted to share the joyous occasion with someone. He decided to gift 13 goats named after the members to children in Tanzania. This initiative led to the whole group becoming moved and starting their charity activities.

Joshua promised to expand SEVENTEEN’s sharing to a global level alongside UNESCO. He expressed, “We plan to build schools for the establishment of educational infrastructure in the third world. We will also support the continuous operation of debate spaces for education. We will actively participate as UNESCO ambassadors to promote the importance of education, a crucial challenge of our time.”

Joshua concluded his speech by saying, “SEVENTEEN has experienced the path of achieving dreams through solidarity. Learning, as SEVENTEEN did, can change a person, expand their dreams, and ultimately change the world. Let’s learn together and go together.”

Vernon closed the speeches by reciting lyrics from five songs, reinforcing SEVENTEEN’s message. He said, “Open up a new future under the name of ‘together.’ If we have each other’s care, we can be everything the world needs. When we are together, we become the courage for countless tomorrows. Even if we don’t know each other, we can dance and be happy together. As long as we are together, we will never lose our way and walk straight.”

Following the speeches, SEVENTEEN took the stage to perform five songs, including “_WORLD,” “Darl+ing (ENG ver),” “Headliner,” “Music’s God,” and “Let’s go together (ENG ver).” Their vibrant and cheerful energy, characteristic of the group, shone on stage. The audience responded with enthusiastic cheers, standing ovations, and even dancing along during some performances.

The atmosphere at the venue was explosive, and UNESCO officials commented that it was the first time the UNESCO Main Hall was filled to capacity. 

The positive response to SEVENTEEN’s speech and performances exceeded expectations. The forum received significant coverage from local correspondents and global media outlets like the Associated Press (AP).

SEVENTEEN has been engaged in the “Going Together” campaign with the UNESCO Korea Committee since August of last year. This year, they expanded the campaign globally by signing a three-way agreement with the UNESCO headquarters and the UNESCO Korea Committee.

Through the “Going Together” campaign, SEVENTEEN emphasized that young people, like themselves, can be the agents of educational transformation. Their positive influence on the global expansion of this campaign is anticipated following their powerful speech at the UNESCO Youth Forum.


Author Nat.O
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