Hope, dream, together — Boy band Seventeen shared a heartwarming message of love and “going together” at the 13th Unesco Youth Forum in Paris on Tuesday as the first K-pop band to speak at the Unesco headquarters.
Six members of the band — Seungkwan, Jun, Woozi, Mingyu, Joshua and Vernon — shared their stories both as young artists and as the team of members of Seventeen. The audience filled the main hall and cheered on the members.
The speech was delivered in three languages: Korean, Chinese and English.
“It’s an honor to have been granted this opportunity to speak on behalf of our generation about our dreams, aspirations, hope and the future,” Seungkwan said, taking to the podium first. “We hope our story will resonate with you all on your journey toward generating positive social change.”
Members of the group shared their stories of how they overcame hardships together with their bandmates, an idea which was emphasized throughout the speech.
“Many were critical of us and said that we would never make it,” Woozi, who also produces for the band, said during his turn. “We were too young to be discouraged. As we learned from each other and came together as one, the identity of Seventeen began to take shape.”
“I’m certain that every one of you knows a few things about the difficulty of reaching a consensus,” Woozi said as he talked about his experience of working with the others while making music. “Trying to find the best ways to foster a better society while accommodating everyone’s opinions is no small feat. But we have learned firsthand that diverse voices lead to impactful solutions.”
“As long as we’re together, I’m not afraid of failure,” Jun said. “We are teachers to one another. We practiced together, created together and became better versions of ourselves.”
Mingyu told the band’s story of spreading positivity through its donations. The group gifted 13 goats to Tanzanian children in 2016, the year following its debut.
He said that it continued to keep on donating to children’s organizations and foundations after they received a letter from a Tanzanian child saying, “I’ll take care of this goat, for my dreams.”
“The short phrase ‘for my dreams’ let us quietly fall into thought,” Mingyu said. “We want to make sure that no young person, no matter who they are or where they come from, never gives up on their dreams or get discouraged.”
Joshua emphasized the importance of education regarding its partnership with the Korean National Commission for Unesco (KNCU). The group launched an educational campaign, #GoingTogether, last year with KNCU.
“Through the campaign, we seek to make young people, the ones who will be leading the future, become aware of the importance of education,” Joshua said. “The campaign also supports growth through educational opportunities.”
Seventeen hopes to continue its partnership with both the Korean Unesco arm and Unesco in general, especially by helping build schools and infrastructure in developing countries, according to the band.
“We hope that our actions through Unesco will reach young people everywhere, from the kids on islands even smaller than Jeju, to those in every corner of the world who are fostering, reaffirming and acting on their dreams, even as we speak,” Joshua said.
Vernon closed off the speech by quoting lyrics from the band’s songs.
“If we are together. You and I are never losing our way. You and I, we will be walking straight.” Vernon said, citing the lyrics from the band’s song “Together” (2020).
A special performance was given by Seventeen to finish the event. The band played its popular hits “_World” (2022), “Headliner,” “God of Music” and the English versions of “Darl+ling” (2022) and “Together” (2020).
Seventeen debuted in 2015 under Pledis Entertainment. It consists of 13 members: S.Coups, Jeonghan, Joshua, Jun, Hoshi, Wonwoo, Woozi, DK, Mingyu, The 8, Seungkwan, Vernon and Dino. The band is known for its songs “Very Nice” (2016), “Clap” (2017) and “Super.” It recently released the EP “Seventeenth Heaven” on Oct. 23.
To find out more about Seventeen, visit Celeb Confirmed!
BY KIM JI-YE [firstname.lastname@example.org]