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60th Anniversary of Korean Foundation Celebrated

Posted July. 12, 2008 07:43,   


Commemorating the 60th anniversary of the founding of the Republic of Korea, the National Institute for Korean History and the Dong-A Ilbo co-hosted an academic forum titled “60th Anniversary of Korean Foundation: Past, Present and Future” in downtown Seoul yesterday. A host of participants including Han Yeong-woo, chair-professor of the Ewha Academy and Park Chan-pyo, a professor of Mokpo University, attended the meeting to reflect on the meaning of Korea’s foundation and discuss its achievements and failures.

Jeong Ok-ja, chairwoman of the National Institute of Korean History, said during an opening speech, “Today, we face our society divided with ideologies at the moment which is a reminiscent of such conflicts right after Korea’s liberation in 1945.” She added that, “We should reflect on the six decades of Korean history to take some lessons and introspection from it.”

In his congratulatory address, Kim Jin-hyeon, executive chairman of the International Conference in Celebration of the 60th Anniversary of the Republic of Korea, said, “Of the 149 countries that declared their independence since 1945, only Korea experienced brilliant modernization in all aspects of society. In that sense, the 60th anniversary of the foundation is a revolution in history of mankind.”

Professor Han said in his key note speech themed on “Comprehensive Understanding of 60th Anniversary of Korea Foundation,” “The republic of Korea historically inherited its identity, which originated from practical science in the late Joseon dynasty promoting “the people” and “the democratic country” based on the market economy, from the Korean Empire in 1897, and then from the Provisional Government of the Republic of Korea in 1919.”

He pointed out industrialization and democratization as the most representative of Korea’s success since its foundation. He said the nationalistic movement after the April 19 revolution and traditional high education fever served as driving factors. What he means is that “nationalism” was a catalyst for “we can do it” spirits, and high education supported the idea.

“Although the six decades of Korea’s history can be viewed as a success on the surface, we still have a lot of things to do to hold a better future,” he said, citing overcoming the national division and establishing a refined and dignified culture as the most urgent tasks Koreans face today.

Han also said, “No more conflicts should be sustained and tolerated between the industrial and democratic forces. Ideological divisions in the 1980s are no longer acceptable to the changed situation,” as he called for moderation and taking the middle course.

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