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I am honored to introduce to you the Global Social Economy Forum (GSEF), a global hub for promoting the social economy. Over the past years, more than 23 local governments and 43 social economy organizations from around the world have gathered together to resolve various global and local challenges through the social economy. In particular, the GSEF 2014 inaugural meeting led to the creation of a permanent international organization.

As the financial crisis of 2007-08 painfully demonstrated, unhindered financial markets can cause severe economic and social disruptions. Moreover, the obsession with economic ‘growth’ led not only to economic instability but also to critical ecological challenges and deterioration of community values.

The social economy sheds new light on ways of overcoming these challenges. By strengthening community values and by stimulating social innovation, it provides viable alternative models for achieving equal and sustainable economic development as well as resolving various urban issues.

Seoul has been striving hard to tackle global and urban challenges through the social economy. Yet, it cannot be done by one city alone, and this is why numerous local governments and social economy networks around the world gathered together at the GSEF to share their visions and experiences in promoting the social economy.

I sincerely believe that the diverse aspects of social economy, which encompasses fair-trade, cooperatives, social enterprises and social finance can indeed restore the sustainability of capitalism by bringing back community, human dignity, democracy and innovation at the core of our economic system.

The social economy will bring about the fundamental changes and the GSEF will be at the center of this shift by connecting different local governments and social economy networks around the world.

The voice of each of its members will be heard and their needs and perspectives will be shared with the broader community. The GSEF will also become the platform for sharing best practices among members.

Join our global network and let’s make positive changes together.

Thank you.