British Ambassador to Kores Scott Wightman gives a lecture at Hotel President in Seoul, Thursday.
/ Korea Times photo by
By Kim Se-jeong
British Ambassador to Korea Scott Wightman fended off the weather in the United Kingdom, saying smog and fog are old images widely found among the Chinese and Korean.
“It was a serious problem in the 1950s, but it’s not a problem anymore. We need to find a way to deal with this problem,” Wightman said during a lecture on “The UK’s National Brand,” in Seoul, Thursday.
His comment was a response to a recent study on the UK’s reputation in Korea commissioned by the embassy in Seoul.
The lecture was part of a lecture series organized by the Presidential Council on Nation Branding, a committee mandated to cultivate Korea’s reputation around the world.
The ambassador added in the time of a financial crisis, the UK’s strong financial service sector contributes to a negative reputation of his country.
Stressing “building on your strength,” the envoy suggested Korea combine dynamism in the contemporary era with tradition and history. The chairwoman of Korea’s national committee Lee Bae-yong said that’s exactly what the committee is doing.
Not only garnering support for the spiraling popularity of K-pop, the committee is harnessing tradition to make Korea’s brand more sustainable. “With K-pop alone, the national branding effort isn’t sustainable,” said the chairwoman.
The committee was founded in January 2009.
According to its mission statement on the website, the committee is working to create “a reliable and dignified Korea,” by expanding contribution to international society; disseminating the value of traditional culture, and strengthening global communication and pursue nationwide integration.
An ongoing project is to enlist Korea’s heritages as UNESCO World Heritages.
She said the committee has already begun brainstorming ideas for the 2018 PyeongChang Winter Olympic Games. Lee noted two important initiatives for Gangwon Province: building more hanoks, traditional Korean houses with a floor-heating system, and
producing a film or other content set in PyeongChang.
The committee itself does not have the money and resources to execute its ideas. Even, the fate of the committee is far from clear, as the Lee Myung-bak administration has less than a year to go. The chairwoman hoped the committee to survive the transition, for “it’s determining our future.”