South Korea/ 4.2 Specific policy issues and recent debates  

4.2.7 Intercultural dialogue: actors, strategies, programmes

There are two dimensions to the issue of intercultural dialogue in Korea’s current situation. Firstly, there is the question about the policy response to growing multiculturalism in the country. Secondly, there is the question of how to communicate with culturally dissimilar countries. The latter concern has surfaced because with the spread of Korean pop culture, films, and television programs to neighboring Asian countries has encountered both very positive and very negative reactions. It was recognized that before this kind of sudden encounter mediated by fast spreading popular culture, there had not been significant relationships with countries with different cultural backgrounds. Awareness of the need for intercultural dialogue has grown in view of this twofold reality.

The cultural life of migrant groups has also been of great interest as a cultural policy matter. The Ministry of Culture has executed surveys on the participation in and consumption of culture by this specific group. The results 「Survey on cultural life of migrant population(2010)」 suggested that more cultural programs from the migrant’s country of origin should be provided and that the society required more multicultural awareness and understanding. The Korea Arts and Culture Education Service, a public organization that funds and executes educational activities, has trained and placed multicultural educators in schools and cultural facilities. Cultural minorities were also eligible to participate in the program and work as multicultural educators.

The Office for Hub Cities of Asian Culture plays the most active role in promoting intercultural dialogue in international settings. As part of the operational plan for the Asia Culture Complex in Gwangju City in 2015, the Office organizes and coordinates a multitude of projects that promote intercultural communication. For example, an annual gathering of traditional musicians in the Asian region is organized to form an orchestra and attempt new forms of performance. The Office also sponsors professional gatherings to generate ideas for artistic cooperation and co-production. KNCU (Korea National Commission for UNESCO), APCEIU (Asia Pacific Center for Educating International Understanding), ASEF (Asia-Europe Foundation) are partners in these activities.


Chapter published: 29-11-2013


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