The First Step Toward Becoming a Leading University in Public Diplomacy

2019-09-09 Academic

Kyung Hee University was selected to conduct the '2019 - 2020 Public Diplomacy Academy ' by the Korea Foundation

The Public Diplomacy Academy project enhances the understanding of university students in public diplomacy and helps them explore related careers by reinforcing their practical capabilities. Dependent on evaluation, the project could be extended for up to three years. Below is an interview with Professor Hyunseok Yu at the Department of Political Science & International Relations, who oversees project operations, details, and future plans.

Kyung Hee was selected for its excellence in capability, infrastructure, and experience.
Public diplomacy is an activity that gains support through direct communication and connection with foreign citizens and ultimately helps to promote diplomatic relations between two countries. According to Professor Yu, public diplomacy was emphasized after the September 11 attacks in 2001.

Back then, the US had good diplomatic relations with several Middle Eastern countries, including Saudi Arabia, Jordan, the United Arab Emirates, and Kuwait. However, the US suffered a tragic terrorist attack at the heart of the country due to the lack of exchange and communication with the people of Arab countries, who held a lot of resentment toward the United States. Since then, in addition to the US, countries across the world have been focusing on public diplomacy to win the hearts of foreign citizens and create a positive national reputation.

The public diplomacy academy is an extension of this idea. As the interest in, and demand for, public diplomacy grew, the necessity of expanding research in the field and fostering experts developed. “Kyung Hee has many non-Korean students from different countries and implements a variety of international exchange programs. The evidence is the higher marks in internationalization that the University received from domestic and international university evaluations. Kyung Hee has emphasized the capability to conduct effective and high quality projects,” explained Professor Yu.

“Moreover, the Kyung Hee Institute of International Education taught the Korean language and Korean culture to diplomatic corps in Korea. It has also promoted a lot of long-standing public diplomacy projects. I think that Kyung Hee's rich infrastructure and experience earned excellent ratings from the jury’s evaluation,” he added.

Talent cultivation by opening major courses and holding related programs
Kyung Hee plans to open and operate major courses on public diplomacy in the second semester of this year and next year, and to hold overseas festivals that promote the charm of Korean culture. Another plan is to provide lectures on public diplomacy to public officials and workers, utilize social media for lectures on public diplomacy, and invite diplomats to Korea to learn about foreign public diplomacy cases.

“Now that more and more people travel around the world and communicate with foreigners, each citizen is expected to play the role of a civil diplomat. I want to make sure that all Koreans, including Kyung Hee students, have the capacity to do public diplomacy, and that Kyung Hee advances to become a top university in the field of public diplomacy,” he enthusiastically concluded.

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