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Damascus University Dean Visits Korea

Posted June. 02, 2006 04:27,   


“I hope that the Korean language classes will open the doors to a new era of cultural cross-fertilization,” the dean of Syria’s top ranking Damascus University Wael Mua’ala, 51, said during his visit to Korea for a week from May 25. He was invited by the Korea Foundation.

He expressed his desire for Korea and Syria to have more diplomatic exchanges through the “Korean Education Center” set to open next year. Syria formed diplomatic ties with North Korea in July, 1966, but with South Korea, transactions have been nil.

Mua’ala said, “there were no official governmental interchanges, but since 2000, the number of Korean students who have come to Damascus University for Arabic courses is on the rise.” In the past five years, an average of 60 Korean students have matriculated to Damascus University language education center per year, making a total of some 300 graduates.

The first bond with Korea began for Mua’ala two years ago when the Korean ambassador to Lebanon visited Syria and met with him.

“At that time the Korean embassy donated about 50,000 dollars’ worth of machinery like Samsung and LG computers and printers, and we’re still using it because the quality is so good.”

Mua’ala remarked Korean products were gaining popularity in Syria and his car was also made by Hyundai Motors. “The success of Korea, with its small land area and no resources, makes it a model for Middle East countries.”

Through this visit Mua’ala said he was able to learn more about Korea, and that he was surprised to see that “Christians, Buddhists, and Muslims all co-exist with no conflicts.”

Ho-Gab Lee gdt@donga.com