Saemaul Undong, Contributing to the Development of the Republic of Korea

Memory of the World

  • Heritage
  • Memory of the World

The Archives of
Saemaul Undong
has been nominated as the
UNESCO Memory of the
World Register. _

The Archives of Saemaul Undong (literally, New Community Movement or New Village Movement) includes presidential speeches, government paper, village documents, letters, manuals, photographs and video clips related to Saemaul Undong conducted from 1970 to 1979 in the Republic of Korea.

Korea today is a benchmarking model for many developing countries and is the only country in the world that has achieved rapid economic growth and democratization in the wake of colonial rule and war. Saemaul Undong marked the first step in this remarkable journey. During 1970-1979, Korea’s average farm household income jumped from $825 to $4,602, setting a milestone in poverty reduction. The spirit of “Diligence, Self-help and Cooperation” spread widely among the rural population. The movement laid the foundation for Korea to grow into a major economy from one of the world’s poorest countries. The experience of the Korean people in this process is a valuable asset for humankind.

Since 1970, some 60,000 public officials and village leaders from 147 nations visited Korea to learn about Saemaul Undong, and these Archival materials have been used to inform programs emulating the Saemaul Undong.