During this year’s KCON (Korean Convention) held from 18-20 August in Los Angeles (LA), USA, girls’ education was highlighted through the “Bright Girls, Brighter Future” campaign. UNESCO met with Heekyung Jo Min, Executive Vice-President at CJ group and Estefania Keener (pictured), a young participant at the Girls’ Education Campaign Booth to talk about the importance of girls’ education.
Heekyung Jo Min, Executive Vice-President at CJ Group, tells us about the UNESCO-CJ Partnership and how the Bright Girls, Brighter Future campaign is making a difference.
Why girls’ education?
Since November 2014, CJ Group has been a strong advocate of UNESCO, using its business resources and media platforms to contribute to the global agenda in culture and education.
The majority of CJ's customers are young people aged 18 to 24 and majority of them are girls and women. We have decided to support girls’ education because we believe that improving their lives through education can bring about major change not only to individual girls but also to society as a whole. Therefore, CJ and UNESCO have partnered to launch a girls’ education campaign with the slogan, ‘‘Bright Girls, Brighter Future!"
How is CJ promoting the "Bright girls, brighter future" global education campaign at this year's KCON LA?
At this year’s KCON LA, we created an activity called “Hope Rally” and invited KCON participants to write encouraging messages to the girls who are often denied education. With this event, we wanted to make participants feel connected to girls in developing countries supported by UNESCO. In addition, we have used social media channels to invite celebrities to join the girls’ education campaign by delivering messages supporting girls’ education to their fans.
How do you think KCON is making a difference?
KCON is a global festival where every element of Korean culture, encompassing pop music, TV dramas, movies, fashion, food, and beauty, can be experienced and celebrated. To all K-Pop fans, every move, message, and item related to their favorite celebrities becomes a hot issue. This is why KCON and MAMA (Mnet Asian Music Awards, held in December) are perfect opportunities to spread the girls’ education message and raise awareness toward the cause. Engaging celebrities as campaign supporters at KCON/MAMA motivates fans to join the campaign and encourages them to think about social issues. Since 2014, through girls’ education campaigns at KCON and MAMA, we have reached more than 500,000 on-site participants and 2.4 million people via media broadcast.
What is next for CJ in the promotion of girls' education and support to UNESCO's work in the area?
Through our 3-year partnership campaign experience, we have successfully embedded the girls’ education campaign within CJ Group and our affiliate companies. For example, in CJ Olive Young, Korea’s largest health and beauty store chain, employees developed their ideas from the bottom-up, to launch a year-end donation campaign.
For our next step, CJ hopes to continue using our media platform to expand the girls’ education campaign, until everyone is made aware of the importance of this cause. We hope to reach girls all over the world to let them know that through education, they can grow up to be the ones who lead the positive changes of our global society. Our aim is to start this wave of positive change through the girls’ education campaign.
Estefania Keener tells us about her participation in the Girls’ Education Campaign at KCON LA 2017, and what it meant for her.
Why did you participate in the Girls' Education Campaign “Bright Girls, Brighter Future” at KCON LA 2017?
I took part in the campaign because I really appreciate how strong girls work, and some of them do not have the opportunity to have an education at all. People coming together in this campaign just to help them is amazing, so I wanted to be part of this also because girls’ education is really important to me.
What do you think about having these campaigns in festivals such as KCON?
A lot of listeners at KCON are women who are fortunate to have an education, and are able to help those who do not. As women they can also sympathize more, as they would understand how hard it would be if they did not have an education. It is fantastic to have a campaign like this one at KCON as it also reaches a big group of people for an important cause.
As part of the campaign, participants were asked to write a message to girls. What message did you write and why do you think girls' education matters?
I wrote “you’re amazing” because it is so hard to succeed in life if you do not have a good education. It is amazing what girls can do through education. Even if they do not get the best education, the fact that they can at least get an education and use it to their advantage is already so important. Girls’ education matters: there are a lot of strong women out there, and we can have more and more just through education. We really need that.
The UNESCO-CJ Partnership for Girls' Education started in 2011 with the launch of the "Bright Girls, Brighter Future" global education campaign.
KCON is an annual convention and music festival gathering over 100,000 participants that takes place in different countries around the world. It is also a platform through which CJ raises awareness of the importance of girls' education by engaging K-pop artists and KCON participants alike.
MAMA (Mnet Asian Music Awards) is an annual music industry awards ceremony held in December. In line with MAMA’s motto, "Music Makes One", CJ Group creates a special stage for the girls’ education campaign by engaging artists from various countries.