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MORAZÁN

El Salvador

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GONDAR

ETHIOPIA

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XI'AN

CHINA

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HYDERABAD

INDIA

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DAEJEON

SOUTH KOREA

Daejeon, South Korea

Montgomery County Executive Ike Leggett led a delegation of forty County residents to Daejeon, South Korea and Xi’an, China for a Joint Sister Cities and Economic Development Mission Trip from October 20 to 29, 2017. County Executive Leggett signed a Sister City agreement with Daejeon, South Korea Mayor Kwon Sun-Taik on October 23, 2017 making Daejeon Montgomery County’s fifth Sister City. Daejeon was a natural pick to become Montgomery County’s Sister City in South Korea because the two communities are both renowned as technology hubs and because Daejeon Metropolitan Office of Education had already been working with Montgomery County Public Schools and Montgomery College on a teacher exchange program.

 

Daejeon is South Korea’s fifth largest city with a population of 1.5 million people. Ninety miles south of the capital of Seoul, Daejeon sits in the west-center of South Korea at the crossroads of the nation’s rail lines and roads. With 19 universities and more than 500 research institutions, the research and development city of Daejeon is considered to be the Silicon Valley of South Korea. The highly regarded Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (KAIST) and the Korea Aerospace Research Institute (KARI) are located in Daejeon. When the national government decided in the 1980s to relocate some government agencies from the capital of Seoul, Daejeon became one of four administrative hubs. The Daejeon Government Complex hosts twelve national offices, including Customs, Procurement, Small and Medium Business, and the National Statistical Office.

 

During the October 2017 mission trip, County Council Education Committee Chair Craig Rice signed Sister School agreements with the school systems in Daejeon on behalf of Montgomery County Public Schools. Montgomery College President DeRionne Pollard signed agreements with universities in Daejeon. David Petr, President of the Montgomery County Economic Development Corporation; Ellie Giles, CEO of WorkSource Montgomery; Sanjay Rai, Montgomery College’s Vice President for Academic Affairs; and Montgomery County Assistant CAO Lilly Qi led our delegation of business leaders in talks in Seoul and Daejeon, South Korea. In addition to meetings with business and government officials, delegation members toured cultural and historic sites.

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Montgomery County Executive Leggett and Daejeon Mayor Kwon Sun-Taik with Montgomery County delegation at October 23, 2017 signing ceremony

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Fast Facts

 

COUNTRY

South Korea (population 49,000,000)

REGION

Hoseo

POPULATION

1,512,000

AREA

208 square miles

ELEVATION

236 feet PRIMARY

LANGUAGES

Korean PRIMARY

RELIGIONS

Christianity, Buddhism, and indigenous religions

CURRENCY

South Korean Won (KRW)

TIME ZONE

Korean Standard (KTS) (UTC+9)

ECONOMY

electronics and telecommunications

Left to right: Craig Rice, Ike Leggett, DeRionne Pollard, David Petr

Humans first settled in the area formerly known as Hanbat during the Stone Age. For centuries, Daejeon was a sparsely populated village. This began to change in the early decades of the twentieth century when Daejeon became a key link of the nation’s rail system. Much of the city was destroyed in a key 1950 battle during the Korean War. In the late 1980s, Daejeon’s growth began to take off when it became an administrative arm of the national government. The population began to increase significantly. In 1995, it was officially named Daejeon Metropolitan City and in 1997, the Daejeon Government Complex was built. In addition to visiting research institutions and universities and participating in economic development conferences, the delegation attended a cultural performance, visited Gongsanseong Fortress (the mountain fortress that served the royal palace of the Baekje Kingdom for the sixty-four years of the Ungjin Period 475-538 CE), and visited the Daejeon National Cemetery.

 

South Korea is featured each year in Montgomery County’s World of Montgomery Festival.

 

For more information about how you can get involved, please contact sistercities@montgomerycountymd.gov.