Convention focuses on background of 'hallyu'
Lee Bae-yong, chairwoman of the Presidential Council on Nation Branding (PNBC), speaks during a press conference last week at its headquarters in Seoul. / Courtesy of PNBC
By Do Je-hae
The Lee Myung-bak administration has been obsessed with improving the nation’s image abroad, resulting in the establishment of the Presidential Council on Nation Branding (PCNB) in 2009.
During an address to the nation on Aug. 15 Independence Day, President Lee reiterated a major policy move to “make a significant improvement in our image,” to make a leap into the ranks of advanced nations.
While government officials have been rushing to relate achievements of various sectors with “improving Korea’s image globally,” many citizens still remain unsure of just where the sources of nation branding come from or what the term even means.
The PCNB is hoping to enlighten citizens on this issue through the “Korea Nation Branding Convention 2011” from Aug. 25 to 28 at COEX in southern Seoul.
The convention will include exhibitions from the nation’s top corporations and local governments, cultural events and an international forum on the global impact of “hallyu,” or the Korean wave.
Centering on the theme “Hallyu, into the Future with the World,” it is the first large-scale convention the PCNB will organize in cooperation with various ministries, corporations and local governments.
Led by a historian, the PCNB has put an emphasis on the background of hallyu as a major source of Korea’s nation branding.
“I was recently in New York and felt that Korea’s global status has made a considerable improvement,” Lee Bae-yong, chairwoman of PCNB, said during a press conference last week at its headquarters in central Seoul.
“But ironically, many Koreans are not aware of our own assets that can be used to promote our nation to the outside world. We must be more forthcoming to learn about what we have,” Lee said.
The former president of Ewha Womans University explained that the roots of hallyu can be found in Korea’s traditional culture, heritage and most importantly, passionate nature.
One of the reasons for the success of the participating corporations like Samsung Electronics and Hyundai Motor is their impassioned drive for innovation. “Their exhibitions will try to impart the human story behind their phenomenal success,” Lee said.
There are nine global firms as well as 11 small and mid-sized firms participating in the convention.
Highlights of the convention are the exhibitions that will be run by 13 local governments with a focus on promoting regional specialties in culture, industry and tradition.
Local culture and tradition
Gangwon Province will run an exhibition booth to promote its ski resorts for the 2018 Pyeongchang Olympics and Busan will show how it has emerged as the Asian Mecca of films as host of the annual Busan International Film Festival to be held in October.
“People in Seoul have little knowledge about what goes on outside their city and the localities do not know each other very well,” Lee said.
A historian by profession, Lee has been an ardent champion of history education for young people. As president of the nation’s largest women’s university, she led a special program of taking students and foreigners to major historical sites.
“In particular, I hope that young people will visit the convention,” Lee added.
The PCNB plans to hold the convention on a regular basis, with the possibility of holding it abroad.The organization is planning to use diplomatic landmarks like the 130th anniversary of Korea-U.S. relations in 2012 as an opportunity to promote hallyu.
The international forum will be held for two days from Aug. 25, where brand strategy expert David Aaker, professor emeritus of the University of California, Berkeley, will speak on “National Branding — Why and How.”
Maxime Paquet, chief of the France-based Korean culture society Korean Connection, will talk about the “Korean Wave Mania in Paris.”
Guoqun Fu, professor of marketing at Guanghua School of Management, Peking University, will give a speech on China’s case in nation branding efforts.
There will be a session about the role of sports in improving nation branding, led by sports stars like weightlifting champion Jang Mi-ran.
For more information, visit http://expo.koreabrand.go.kr