2015, 2016, and 130, what is the connection among these numbers? Need a hint? They are all related to France. Korea and France have enjoyed a long association since 1886. 2016 marks the 130th anniversary of amity between the two nations, and 2015-2016 has been named the year of mutual exchange between the two nations. The tie between France and Korea can be seen at Sookmyung, too. You may have notice the large number of French students on campus, but in addition to that, there are plenty more things that show the good relationship between Sookmyung and France. The Sookmyung Times investigated Sookmyung’s partnership with France.
The Friendship Begins
Sookmyung Women’s University has held lots of events and managed several education programs promoting French culture and language. Compared to other universities, the actions of Sookmyung have set it apart. Sookmyung has played a strong role cultural exchange between the two nations and influenced the Korean government by active nongovernmental diplomacy to ensure a favourable Korean impression be left with French officials and visitors. Here are some of the ways Sookmyung is communicating with France.
Non-Governmental Public Diplomacy
1. The Korea-France Forum
Sookmyung Women’s University has long been working as host of several institutions that hold the Korea-France forum. On November 27th 2012, a ceremony marking Sookmyung’s joint auspices with the Korean Foundation (KF) at the Korea-France forum was held at the Sookmyung Administration Building. The France-Korea forum is a private high-level consultative body co-hosted by KF and Institut Français des Relations Internationals (IFRI)* in France. More than 40 diverse current Korean and French political, economic, social, and cultural issues are discussed at the forum. Sookmyung Women’s University participated in the forum as a joint host in the 10th forum in 2013 and organized the 11th forum on its campus. Recently, Sookmyung joint hosted the 12th forum with KF and IFRI on June 25, 2015.
2. The Korea-France Young Leaders Forum
The Korea-France Young Leaders Forum sprouted from the Korea-France forum co-hosted with KF. On January 27th, twenty students from Sookmyung managed operations of a forum at Institut d'Études Politiques de Paris called Science Po.** The event was comprised of three distinct parts: discussion on the political relationship between North Korea and South Korea, talks on the culture industry of Korea, especially dialogues on K-pop, and conflicts between the elderly and the younger generation based on Confucianism ideology. Sookmyungians and French students enjoyed the opportunities to discuss and communicate with people from all kinds of backgrounds, cultures, and viewpoints.
3. Minister of France Fleur Pellerin Presented with Honorary Doctorate
Fleur Pellerin, Minister of Culture and Communication for France became the first ever French-Korean minister. After entering the political world in 2002, Pellerin has worked diligently and sincerely at each new position she held for three years. Sookmyung Women’s University first made a connection with Minister Pellerin at the 10th Korea-France forum. Sookmyung decided to bestow upon her an honorary economics doctorate because of her leadership role in presenting Korean heritage to France. The ceremony to commemorate the honorary doctorate was held on October 8, 2015 at the Samsung Convention Center in Centennial Hall.
4. French Cultural Events and Lectures
‘Francophone’ refers to people who speak French or a French-speaking nation. Annually on the 20th of March, a commemoration day for French language and cultures is held by all French-speaking countries in the world. ‘La Francophonie’ is organized by people who speak French and love French culture. The Korea Cultural Institute of Sookmyung Women’s University hosted a joint event to celebrate ’La Francophonie’ in 2013 and 2014. The school invited diplomates and others from embassies of French-Speaking nations in Korea, the cultural arts, the business sector, and so on. In 2014, the Korea Cultural Institute arranged the ‘Tunisian Mosaic & Handcrafts Exhibition’ at the Chungpa Gallery in Renaissance Plaza, which enabled students at Sookmyung Women’s University to get closer to the culture without having to leave campus.
1. Department of French Language & Culture
The Department of French Language & Culture has three specialties that students can choose from: French Language, French Literature, and French Culture. Professor Ida Daussy is a France-expat living in Korea, which gives students the opportunity to directly speak with a native French speaker. Moreover, courses like French Culture & Art Policy, Francophonie Area Study, and other cultural management courses guarantee students in the Department attain an academically high-level of cultural study. The department hosts annual events like the Chanson Competition in May and French Plays in the second semester of the school year. It also hosts the Beaujolais Nouveau Commemoration Event at the Han Sangeun Lounge in Centennial Hall the third week of every November. Every student on campus is eligible to attend and enjoy free cheese and wine, French poetry recitation, the Changson Competition, and special lectures from upper year classmates.
2. Department of Le Cordon Bleu Hospitality Management
Le Cordon Bleu Hospitality Management is one of type of specialty in the Department of Culture & Tourism. The department was established in 2007 after discussion between Sookmyung Women’s University and Le Cordon Bleu, a world famous Culinary and Food Service Educational Institute. The objective of the department is to cultivate hospitality management experts who understand the hospitality industry and will later enter fields related to that industry. 80% of the curriculum centres on field studies and the remaining 20% are academic classes. Graduation requirements include the completion of two separate internships: a basic 300-hour internship and a second 480-hour advanced internship. Students have the option of working at various franchises, in the administration department at a restaurant, or in the hospitality industry. Students interested in furthering their knowledge may apply to the Le Cordon Bleu Hospitality MBA, which focuses solely on Hospitality and is the recognized for its expertise in the area by the Korean Ministry of Education.
3. Le Cordon Bleu Sookmyung Academy
Le Cordon Bleu is part of the French Culinary Bakery Institute, which has 56 campuses in 28 countries throughout the world. Le Cordon Bleu Sookmyung Academy is the only one in Korea, and it was established at Sookmyung in 2002. It is only the second campus in Asia, and it has had approximately 2000 graduates over the last thirteen years. Every teacher at the academy is a foreign chef who has worked at a five-star hotel kitchen, so students learn from observation and through a translator. Completion of all courses, of which there are 90, earns the student a diploma. Anyone 18 years of age or older may apply to the academy.
4. French Cultural Management at the Graduate School of International Studies
Graduate studies in French Cultural Management were established in 2007 through a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with Paris Dauphine. The purpose of the program is to nurture cultural exchange experts. The program is taught over five semesters. Applications are accepted every March and November. The best part of the studies is the option to participate in the joint study program with Paris Dauphine, so students can enjoy cultural exchanges and attend business schools in France. Each year, four students are selected for the joint study program. Students learn the Paris Dauphine curriculum for one year and then apply for the joint study program in the Management de la Culture in Paris Dauphine after completion of 2-years of course work at Sookmyung.
Good Friends, Sweet Fruition
France is a nation with great culture and arts. It is also a permanent member of the UN Security Council. With Sookmyung Women’s University playing an important role in non-governmental diplomacy, relationships between Sookmyung and France have been steadily established. Also, students are able to enjoy a wide range of possible future careers by majoring in French Language & Culture because there are numerous French-speaking countries throughout the world. Lee Myungin, Student President of the Department of French Language & Culture said, “French is an internationally commonly used second language, coming second only to English in international organizations like the UN and FIFA. By learning the French language and French culture, I think students could become more competitive in lots of areas.” Sookmyung Women’s University is actively communicating with universities located in French-speaking countries. Moon Siyeon, Korea Cultural Institute Director at Sookmyung Women’s University said, “French language as well as cultural communication is the key to Sookmyung’s development and worth.” With the trend to focus on engineering, specializing in French language and other languages could be the differentiated competitiveness of Sookmyung Women’s University.
* French Institution of International Relations: the main independent research and debate institution dedicated to international affairs, based in Paris, France
** Paris Institution of Political Studies: public research and higher education institution in Paris, France