Slovak's stride toward making its own name
By Kim Se-jeong
A journey of a thousand miles must begin with a single step.
With an ambition to enhance the profile of Slovakia in Korea, Slovak Ambassador to Korea Dusan Bella last Monday made a small presentation about his nation at the embassy.
In the presence of a handful of guests — local journalists, representatives of tourism industry and a travel magazine — Bella showed slides of images depicting landscapes, castles, ice caves, food and music, provided general information about the country and presented a few Slovak dishes.
The occasion occurred in time for the 20th anniversary of Slovakia-Korea diplomatic relations which will come January next year. The embassy is planning an array of events from July, six months prior to the anniversary, until next summer.
Korea and Slovakia opened diplomatic relations in 1993, one year after the Slovakia Republic declared itself as a sovereign nation.
“I hear people say ‘We know Czech, but what’s Slovakia?’” The ambassador’s comment seems to summarize his challenge ahead.
The Slovak Republic is a landlocked country in Central Europe, bordering the Czech Republic, Austria, Poland, Ukraine and Hungary.
The nation was born as a result of Velvet Revolution, which ended the communist rule in Czechoslovakia in 1989.
Czech Republic enjoys its solid popularity established in Korea attributed to things such as a famous soap opera shot in Praha.
Bella said Slovak has a lot to offer, mentioning natural landscapes, mountains, caves and castles. Ice caves in the Slovak Karst are enlisted as the UNESCO’s World Heritage. So is former mining town Banska Stiavnica, medieval ecclesiastical town Spisska Kupitula, and frescos in a medieval church in Zehra.
The envoy said the intensity of bilateral economic activities may catch many by surprise. Kia Motors has a factory in Slovakia, producing 252,000 cars along with 3,900 people. Kia is one of 80 private Korean firms that are up and running in Slovakia. The number of Korean residents in Slovakia is close to 2,000.
In trade, South Korea is the fourth largest exporting country for Slovak.
Ambassador Bella hopes series of upcoming events would bring people together.
In October, the Slovak National Theater is coming to participate in the World Festival of National Theaters. At Gaewha Art Park in Boryeong, South Chungcheong Province will be a granite sculpture erected and carved by a Slovak sculptor. Next March, Cappella Istropolitana, a leading chamber orchestra, will come to Korea. Anniversary stamps will also be released next year as well.
Apart from them, he also hopes to bring a renowned Slovak Philharmonic Orchestra, photos by famous Slovak photographer Karol Kallay, and a series of films.