In the 21st century, major global cities are shifting their focus from material growth to culture, art and design and turning themselves from "hard city" into "soft city." In this era of great transformation, women's creative and sensitive energy is emerging as main driving force behind the development of a city. Against this backdrop, Metropolis is hosting Women International Network Forum on October 22-24, 2009 under the theme of "Women Friendly Cities" to promote women's competitiveness that will play a key role in city development.

The Seoul Metropolitan Government is currently operating "Women Friendly City Project" through which we redesign all city policies from women's perspective with the firm belief that when women are happy, the whole society is happy. This forum will serve as an excellent opportunity to envision the future of women friendly cities through Seoul's effort to diagnose and cure its problems through the eyes of women, and to share the accomplishment and results of hard work by experts from around the world.

I will look forward to meeting all of you in Seoul. Thank you.