Following the way of the Velvet Revolution December 15th, 2009
By Lucia Dopiriakova
Global Planning Team
Hello everyone! This is the first time I write for the blog after being an avid reader for the past few years. Today, I wanted to share a bit of my experience working at Kia Motors’ headquarters in Seoul. My journey with this Korean automaker began in 2007 but in the lives of many Slovak people it played a vivid role since 2004.
It was the year Kia Motors broke ground to start up the Kia Motors Slovakia plant and became one of the main industrial players on the current economic scene of my native country. Since its arrival, Kia’s influence in Slovakia has been tremendous as it greatly contributed to increased employment, incomes and opportunities for thousands of the country’s 5.4 million citizens. By investing in Slovakia and seeing the true potential the country had to offer, Kia Motors once again showed its strong skills in terms of visionary and strategic thinking.
Last month, Slovakia celebrated the 20-year anniversary of the Velvet Revolution. As far as revolutions go, it was a smooth transition from the old regime to the new one, hence the ‘Velvet’ name. The Velvet Revolution was followed by Velvet Divorce with Czech Republic in 1993 and since then my small country started a successful, independent journey.
A few years after the Revolution, in 2000, we joined the OECD and then successfully fulfilled the Copenhagen criteria and joined the European Union in the same year Kia Motors broke ground. All these great achievements were not the end.
At the beginning of 2009 Slovakia joined the eurozone and is thus currently using Euro as its official currency together with 15 other members of the EU. Among the post-communist countries in Central and Eastern Europe Slovakia is only the second country after Slovenia that fulfilled the strict economic criteria, called Maastricht criteria, and was allowed to join the eurozone.
And in all this successful economic development, Kia Motors was a very important part of the chain that keeps pulling the country forward in big steps. That is why, on the occasion of the 20th anniversary of the Velvet Revolution we decided together with the Slovak Embassy to present a bit of Slovakia and Kia’s intertwined history through an exhibit in the lobby of our headquarters.
The exhibit named “Following the way of the Velvet Revolution: Slovakia after 1989,” was on display for our thousands of employees and received positive reviews. I personally believe this was a great opportunity to showcase how this partnership through globalization has not only benefited Slovakia and Korea as countries, but also the society as a whole and the European region through vehicles built specifically for Europeans, in Europe.
Below, you will see a picture from the exhibit. I hope you enjoy! For more information about Slovakia or the Velvet Revolution, please visit http://charter97.org/en/news/2009/11/17/23740/ or