Representing Korea with Appropriate Culture in Kenya

2019-10-07 Academic

Subin Park (Cultural Tourism Management, ’20) and Junghee Yun (Political Science & International Relations, ’20) participated in the Korea Foundation's 2019 Public Diplomacy Project of Korean Citizens and spent a hot summer in Kenya.

Their seven-member team of ‘Public Diplomacy through Globe Soccer Ball’ was funded by KF with KRW 20 million to carry out the project Tembea Duniani, which means ‘walk the world’ in Swahili. During a three-week span from July 6th to the 25th, the team visited 10 schools in Nairobi and Kajiado, and the beaches of Mombasa, which are all in Kenya, and met with 4,800 Kenyans to introduce Korea's history and culture. They also conducted world citizenship education to explain that Korea and Kenya are fellow members of the Earth community. Below is their story.

“We are global citizens living together on Earth.”
Q. What was the goal of your team, Public Diplomacy through Globe Soccer Ball? What did you do as a team?
Junghee Yun (Yun): The primary goal was to introduce Korea to Kenyan children. To cater to Kenyans, who are soccer lovers, we used soccer balls that resemble the shape of the earth as educational aids. Our Global Citizenship Education (GCED) program was conducted for children aged 13 to 14 in Korean age. The program was not only to introduce Korea but also deliver the message that although Korea and Kenya are geographically far apart, we are global citizens living on the same planet.

Subin Park (Park): GCED is one part and public diplomacy is the other part. The most important concept for this is appropriate culture. It is a term that our team has coined and that is about making culture sustainable. If you give a tablet PC to Kenyan children, how long can it last? However, Korean traditional games can be used as a tool to enhance the understanding of Korea and do not require anything to play other than what is available in Kenya. So Kenyan children found them easy to learn and enjoy.

Realizing the importance of public diplomacy and the effects of tailored GCED programs
Q. How do you feel about completing your public diplomacy and GCED activities in Kenya?
Yun: I thought that a proper view of history would be attainable when there is enough local research. To do this, although there is no doubt that diplomacy on the national level is important, public diplomacy must be put to use as well. It is important to embrace the country through exchange between the private sectors. I also realized that public diplomacy could be approached under the theme of global citizenship. The biggest achievement was to let them know about Korea.

Park: Before going to Kenya, I believed we were teachers, but now I think that it was all about learning with each other. For a true GCED, we learned that rather than telling our stories, we should tailor programs to cater to the learners.

“Liberal arts and internationalization programs at Humanitas College were a great help.”
Q. How did Kyung Hee’s education affect you?
Park: Classes that sparked students' interests, such as writing, civic education, and independent research, were a great help. The professor did not choose a specific topic. I could do with whatever topic I was interested in. Learning how to deal with the topic logically also helped me a lot. Besides, Kyung Hee is excellent at internationalization education. I have joined as many as nine programs so far. I also attended a student exchange program and took part in Global Collaborative. I am very satisfied. I thank Kyung Hee for all the opportunities.

Yun: I agree with Park. I learned how to take the lead while completing a project whose topic I chose. And then I gained the opportunity to take advantage of the learning. I also joined an internationalization program to study my major in the US. Plus, Kyung Hee has many programs related to GCED. This year, Humanitas College began GCED programs in earnest. While connecting what I learned in the liberal arts classes one by one, I found myself not only joining Peace Boat and the Peace BAR Festival but also selecting a theme for Transition 21. Also, Kyung Hee inspired me to use GCED as a tool to achieve the purpose of this public diplomacy project.

Q. What is your plan for the future?
Park: Making tourism sustainable and improving the quality of human life while working for an international organization. My ultimate goal is to achieve SDG 11: sustainable cities and communities.

Yun: I would like to work in the international exchange field to raise the international status of Korea. And someday I want to run a scholarship program. It is education that has pushed me this far, and various projects have taught me that education makes a difference. I hope for a society where everyone has an equal right to get the education they want.

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