The Republic of Korea is a country full of spirit and surprises. As the host country, it has mobilized resources and an impressive workforce to organize what promises to be a Congress with great impact.

We’re talking about a nation that has managed to raise itself from the ashes to become one of the most productive places on the globe in recent years. Determination and hard work come as a given for its people. And certainly this is palpable through the efforts they have invested in the World Conservation Congress.

Korean culture is quite distinctive, nearly insular in fact. The Koreans themselves tend to see their country like an island rather than a peninsula, since its only land border is closed off at the demilitarized zone separating North and South Korea along the 38th parallel.

That is not to say that the country felt no outside influence. On the contrary, Korea has been invaded again and again by its neighbours, Japan, China and Russia. The natural consequence is that it grew a strong national pride.

Being a foreigner in Korea has its challenges. You have to learn all the etiquettes, from handling a business card to behaving correctly in a restaurant. But more often than not, just showing your willingness to try will bring you a long way.

Today the Republic of Korea is making giant leaps towards the rest of the world to be firmly anchored on the international map. The Korean touch is sure to make the Jeju Congress an environmental event like no other.