President Lee Myung-bak listens to Chairwoman Lee Bae-yong of the Presidential Council on Nation Branding speak about the council’s global outreach programs at a meeting at Cheong Wa Dae, Friday.
/ Joint Press Corps
By Na Jeong-ju
President Lee Myung-bak called for overseas promotions of traditional Buddhist temples and “seowon,” the most common educational institutions during the Joseon Kingdom (1392-1910), Friday, to help foreigners better understand the country’s culture and customs.
“We must find effective communication tools from our rich cultural heritage. Foreigners can experience the essence of our culture at traditional temples and seowon,” Lee said during a meeting of the Presidential Council on Nation Branding at Cheong Wa Dae.
“Temples demonstrate the country’s Buddhist culture while the seowon show Confucian values. We need to share such cultural assets with foreigners and make more efforts to preserve them.”
The council plans to launch diverse programs to promote the seowon abroad, according to its Chairwoman Lee Bae-yong, a history professor.
Seowon were private institutions that combined the functions of a Confucian shrine and a preparatory school.
The chairwoman said Korea’s culture and history is largely unknown worldwide despite its past economic achievements, making it difficult to achieve the desired results from its recent vigorous promotional activities overseas.
“Economic development is an integral part in improving a country’s image and reputation. What really matters to make Korea a respected nation is culture and education. We need to strengthen cultural exchanges to make foreigners better understand us,” Lee said.
She pledged to continue the council’s global outreach programs initiated by its former head Euh Yoon-dae, now chairman of KB Financial Group.
The branding council was created in January last year to reorganize Korea’s existing overseas PR activities and create a better image abroad for Korean culture and products.
Some of its key projects include expanding exchange programs with underdeveloped countries in line with Seoul’s plan to increase development aid, developing programs for multicultural families here, strengthening the education of globally accepted norms and etiquette among citizens, and globalizing Korean food and language.
‘조선시대 사찰, 서원 세계화 한다’
이명박 대통령은 8일 ‘조선 시대의 가장 일반적인 교육기관이었던 사찰, 서원과 같은 전통문화의 가치를 발굴하고 해외에 확산하는 것이 외국인들이 한국의 문화와 관습을 잘 이해하도록 돕는 길’이라고 강조했다.
이대통령은 이날 청와대에서 제4차 국가브랜드위원회 보고회의를 주재한 자리에서 ‘우리는 풍부한 문화적 유산으로부터 효과적인 소통방법을 찾아야 합니다. 외국인들이 한국에 오면 전통적인 사찰과 서원을 경험할 수 있을 것’이라고 말했다.
이대통령은 ‘사찰은 우리의 불교문화를 보여주고, 서원은 유교적 가치를 알려줍니다. 우리는 이러한 문화유산을 외국인들과 나눌 필요가 있으며 이를 보존하기 위해 더 많은 노력을 해야 한다’고 말했다.
국가브랜드위원회는 서원을 해외에 더 잘 홍보하기 위한 다양한 사업을 시작할 것이라고 이배용 위원장이 밝혔다.