Remarks, Closing Ceremony, Hallym Short-Term Course at UP Mass Communications
Closing Ceremony, Hallym Short-Term Course in UP CMC, 21 Feb 2012
Good morning, magandang umaga, annyong haseyo.
Time flies when you’re having fun. It was only four weeks ago that I formally welcomed you to UP and the College, and this morning, I formally bid you farewell as we close the short-term cultural course for Hallym University students.
As you may have learned, Korea and the Philippines shared a colonial past with Japanese rule, struggled to developed after World War II, were ruled by dictatorships until the 1980s, and continue to struggle for greater democracy and self-sufficiency in the most recent decades. If we are to believe the HSBC Global Report, Korea will be the 13th largest economy in the world by 2050, and the Philippines, the 16th.
As our nations forge closer economic and political relations, the cultural relations have long been active and growing. Through this short-term cultural course, we hope our Hallym students have a better sense of the Philippines and international relations, and what Koreans need to forge further in the years to come. In a way, the diplomatic relations in our country is better felt through cultural exchanges. The popular culture, like the economic relations, has been one-sided, with bigger gains by Koreans than Filipinos. But with cultural exchanges such as this short-term cultural course, we hope that the Philippine-Korean relations will be truly an equal relationship.
I end with a poem by Chon Sang-Pyong, “Back to Heaven” (http://www.koreabrand.net/en/know/know_view.do?CATE_CD=0009&SEQ=2035). Though the poem is about life’s journey, the return however marks a realization which I hope you have experienced in your brief stay in the Philippines:
We can only hope that your experience here has been meaningful and beautiful, significant in ways you can only say. We now end unlike when we started, able to look into this one-month experience and say we now have a better understanding, a better knowledge of the Philippines as only Koreans might be able to understand us. That for me makes this experience worthwhile and beautiful.
Enjoy and rest of your stay in the country. Safe trip to everyone on your flights back to Korea.