You Are One of The Diplomats Already
You Are One of The Diplomats Already
  • Kim Jung Jiwon / Reporter
  • 승인 2010.12.05 10:38
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You already did diplomacy in spite of not doing and passing the Foreign Service Examination.  If you have an experience that recommends Korean food or music for foreign friends, you are one of the diplomats.  Different from the common belief that it is completely done by diplomats for now, culture diplomacy which is a kind of diplomacy has done by us without our awareness.


Please Help Diplomacy!

Today many nations in the world ask the public for help to establish diplomacy.  Regarding that, the diplomatic services of each nation say generally that it has to be done by all people as well as by diplomats.  The bounds of diplomacy have been expanded to the culture sector from the political and economic sectors.  With this expansion, various people can be involved.  The diplomacy that means “all actions which can affect other nations even if it was done by one person” is Public Diplomacy.  According to the United States Information Agency, having responsibility about the public diplomacy of the U.S.A. during 1953~1999, it is an act offering native features to other nations by individual citizens, civic groups, and also nations.  It includes certain diplomacy that citizens can take part in relatively easily.  That is Culture Diplomacy.  Culture diplomacy is diplomacy to improve national image by letting foreign government and citizen know about native culture.  It is included in public diplomacy but in some nations like France, it is used on equality with public diplomacy.  Moreover It is done by using a culture suitable for the tendency of twenty first century diplomacy which shows the increased importance of the cultural sector.  Even if the other sectors are done by high-level officials, the culture sector can’t be completed without citizens’ cooperation or interest.1  The civic group and individual citizens are on the rise as one diplomats today.  With this atmosphere, an on-line culture diplomacy blog ( is operated by the diplomatic service to offer opportunities that civil can be near with them.  In addition there is cyber art gallery ( for sharing Korean art works with civil which are housed in government and embassy.  All these are run well for civil, so anyone who has interest in it can use these sites freely.


When You Follow, There Is a Road for You


There is the possibility that these newly rising diplomats don’t know exactly about culture diplomacy activity.  When you see the works of Diplomatic Service, you will notice culture diplomacy.  They separate the department into several sections and each does their specialized part.  Globalization of Korean food, spread of cultural arts like music or dance, and support for educational facilities related with Korean culture are the very things. Koh Seong-duk who heads the Grand National Party’s foreign relations committee conducted ‘raw rice wine (makgeolli) diplomacy’ for hosting the G20 summit. For treating foreign presses and the diplomatic corps, he took out our traditional drink.  He treated Muslim countries with Korean Table d’hote (hanjeongsik) instead of raw rice wine, giving consideration to their culture which bans drink.2 Culture diplomacy is not an one-way activity, but considering each other’s culture.  It has no coercive characteristic.  It makes effort to approach other cultures gently.  Government suggests like this soft power for civic groups or citizen.  Moreover they hope that citizen follows the direction government shows.  Civic power is needed to achieve right culture diplomacy.



We Are SMU Diplomats

The civic diplomacy might be found in yourself or acquaintances.  It can be done by any people quite easily.  A civil diplomatic mission VANK (Voluntary Agency Network of Korea)’s efforts to correct distortion about Korean history online, and a businessman Han Gwang-ho holding traditional fan exhibition for informing our handicrafts are the very things.  However, if you didn’t see any diplomat around you until now, there are ways to meet them right now.  The sookmyung Gayageum3 Orchestra (SGO) is the very SMU diplomat nearby you.  SGO is the first gayageum orchestra in Korea and it has spread the beauty of gayageum since 1999.  It performed Western music like the Beatles’ ‘Let it be,’ and Canon in D of Johann Pachelbel, which was reinterpreted through gayageum, so they could cause foreigners’ interests about Korean musical instrument.  Moreover SGO played with the B-boy group Last for One at Quai Branly museum neighboring with the Eiffel Tower, Paris, France in 2008.  Jo Il-hwan, Korean ambassador in Embassy of the Republic of Korea in France said “This performance is expected to contribute to the progress of civil diplomacy activity.”4 SGO gives wider publicity to the world about Korean culture not only as Sookmyungians but also as civil group.



In addition SMU diplomat could be met in a square in front of  Queen Sunheon Building.  With the title ‘Globalization of Korean Food (Hansik),’ students of Department of Food & Nutrition held event.  Professors represented by President Young Sil Han took part in choosing subject, and students made Korean food suitable for the subject with real materials for displaying. Jang Sun-hwa, student representative of Department of Food & Nutrition said, “Our effort for informing Korean food could be shined by participation and interest of Sookmyungians.  We thought about Korean foods that foreigners also can enjoy, and as a result we could make foods including rice cake fondue, and Kimchi roll with chicken breasts.” 


Above this students group’s diplomacy, there are also some efforts at the school level in SMU.  Last semester, you might have seen Vietnamese students frequently.  As part of the cultural exchange, SMU held Korean Culture Experience Camp for Ha Long high school for gifted students with special lectures about learning Korean, meeting Korean traditional music, and making and tasting Korean food. After this course, some students of them were selected for entering SMU.  Min-ho Ahn, Director of Korean Culture Institute which is an affiliate of SMU said, “It is to lay the foundation of cultivating leaders who can develop culture exchange between Korea and Vietnam.”  Starting from this, SMU has planned to construct the Sookmyung Cultural Center in Vietnam Ha Long Bay for letting Vietnamese know and feel Korea itself.


Furthermore in SMU, there is Korean Food Institute (KFI) which efforts to globalized Korean food.  KFI has museum possessing old Korean household utensils and old also operates various Korean food cooking classes opened for every person who wants including Sookmyungians.  KFI has held continuously informing ceremonies about Korean food overseas.  In 2010, it participated in 20th anniversary of Korea and Russia establishing diplomatic relations and let them know several traditional foods including Kimchi pancakes, bibimbap, and Korean royal food.  It went to U.S.A., Spain, and Ecuador for taking part in national events as well as Russia.5 In this way, various efforts for culture diplomacy have been done all around us every day.  “I will work to make Korea to enjoy by culture, harmonize by culture, and progress by culture.”  It is President Lee Myung-bak’s inaugural address.  He promised harmonious communication in the international society through the culture diplomacy.  It is not just our trend, but all global society’s assignment as well as wishful thinking.  Furthermore, it is not only something for the national level’s.  Like each nation’s Foreign Affairs officials’ saying, it can’t be accomplished without interest and cooperation at the civic level.  Not thinking far away, just recall university students’ volunteer works for the G20 Summit.  The ‘G20 Young Ambassadors’ notified schedule or information about G20 Summit online and offline, and furthermore made an effort for letting participating nations feeling mutual cultures.  They did from familiar things like doing Korean plays like shuttlecock game (jegichagi) with foreigners on the streets and producing videos related with each nation’s feature to quite a hard helping like translation for foreigners.  Culture diplomacy is not a grandiose thing, it starts from a minor and close things.  If you don’t have your own list carrying recommendable Korean food, music, and other things for foreign friends yet, try that.  Culture diplomacy can take a first step just at that time when you think about ours and have affection for that.



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