In the West, more people will have heard about Chess than Go.
Why learn Go?
One short answer is that Go is seen as a good source of talent for a career in Software Engineering . Go events are often sponsored by software companies seeking to recruit new talent.
A better reason is given in Play Go and Grow! (pdf) a presentation for the American Go Association discussing the developmental benefits of games in general and the advantages unique to Go.
You might also find these cultural representations of Go interesting.