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[Diplomacy] Civilian groups facilitate diplomacy

Posted December. 08, 2000 16:07,   


There are about 170 civilian diplomacy associations that have been established for the purpose of cultural interchange and friendship reaching out and building cultural bridges.

Their names are varied, such as "friendship association" and "amity association," and have memberships by various foreign envoys in Korea or other persons of note residing and working in Korea.

The Korean Japanese Friendship Association (National Chairman Kim Soo-Hwan), established in 1973, boasts a membership of 2,000 persons. The association, in consideration of the delicate situation between the two countries, mainly places emphasis on cultural interchange. Recently, it began to promote interchange between students and has established a bridge between Soosan High School on Cheju Island with a Japanese high school in Isakawa.

The Korea-Chinese Friendship Association (Rep. Suh Chung-Won, president), established in 1994, has been pursuing interchanges in various areas such as politics, economy, culture, arts, science and sports. This year, the association successfully played host to 100 or so high-ranking representatives from the cities of Liaoning and Kanchu to visit the National Assembly and the Federation of Korean Industries, opening the door to the sluice of civilian diplomacy interchanges. With eight of its members visiting the city of Yen-si in August to attend the Korean-Chinese Festival, the association also strives to support the Korean-Chinese society in China.

The Korea-German Association (chairman of Green Cross Huh Young-Sup, president) actively promotes civilian diplomacy and is largely unequaled. Begun in 1956 with Dr. Ahn Ho-Sang, the Minister of Culture and Education at the time, and the German ambassador to Korea serving as the driving forces, the association currently has 650 members. With the appointment and leadership by chairman Huh launched in February, the Grand Piano Concert and other activities ere held.

The association, in conjunction with the German-Korea Association in Germany, established the Lee Mi-Reuk Memorial Award to celebrate the 101st birthday of Dr. Lee Mi-Reuk, author of "The Aprok River Runs." In June, the association also sponsored the Korean German Families Festival for 460 members, including former president of Seoul National University Ko Byung-Ik and the president in Korea Gunther Shuster Zemans.

The Korea-Britain Society (Rep. Han Seung-Su, chairman), established in 1961, supports annually three or four teachers of English and other experts in various areas, to study in Britain.

The Korean-Britain Association, with 400 members, holds regular monthly meeting and currently proposes various discussions and movie review sessions. A meeting this month took place at he Chosun Hotel on Thursday, with 350 members scheduled to take part, including the minister of diplomacy and communication, former Prime Minister Kang Young-Hoon, and chairman of the Korea International Diplomacy Association Lee In-Ho.

The Korea-Algeria Friendship Association held its first meeting for establishment Dec. 5. The Korean Harvest Association (chairman Kang Eui-Son) dispatched its members to Cambodia and currently is working to build hospitals and school.

Yun Yang-Sup lailai@donga.com