Korean Ambassador Mr. Seoung-Hyun Moon, together with UP Rector Jaroslav Miller commenced the functioning of King Sejong Institute in the university premises. The new UP workplace has been offering courses in Korean as well as cultural events promoting Korean culture since mid-September. It has joined the ranks of more than one hundred institutes of the same name located all over the world.
The ceremony prepared for the opening of King Sejong Institute took place in the Ceremony Hall at the UP Rector’s Office. It will be located in the premises at Křížkovského 8 and is the first of its kind in Moravia.
“Palacký University has Chinese, Japanese, and Indonesian studies, and I am immensely happy to announce that Korean studies have joined the family of Asian studies under the auspices of the Department of Asian Studies,” said Rector Miller. Together with the ambassador of the Republic of Korea he unveiled the plaque of the institute on October 9.
According to Martin Kudláček, Vice-Rector for International Relations, the date is very significant for Korea. “It is a day celebrating the creation of Hangeul, the Korean writing system. It was created in the fifteenth century by King Sejong the Great in order to replace Chinese characters used until then in the country. Thus, he significantly contributed to spreading education across the entire Korean peninsula,” he said.
The headquarters of King Sejong Institute was founded in Seoul, Korea, in 2007 and is largely financed by the Korean government, as well as 174 local King Sejong institutes promoting Korean language and culture located all over the world. All these institutes offer Korean courses which meet with increasing interest every year.
The Olomouc workplace was established thanks to the collaboration of the Department of Asian Studies at the UP Faculty of Arts and the Embassy of the Republic of Korea. They will work closely together, and apart from Korean courses, they will also organise cultural events which will introduce Korean culture to Olomouc citizens and students. In October, a Korean Culture Festival took place in the UP Armoury courtyard. Visitors could try wearing traditional hanbok clothes, have their names written in Hangeul, or play the traditional game Yut Nori. Film enthusiasts enjoyed watching several Korean movies for free in Premiere Cinemas.
Korean studies have a three-year history at Palacký University. According to David Uher, head of the Korean section at the Department of Asian Studies, its establishment was possible due to the efforts by Mi-Young Park. “She worked at UP since 2003 and during roughly ten years she accomplished a great deal in Korean studies for us. She was the first person in the Czech Republic to write a Czech-Korean dictionary. She was repeatedly granted the support of the prestigious Korea Foundation,” Uher said, adding that the accreditation for a three-year Bachelor’s study programme Korean in Economics at UP was approved already in 2015.
“We have met all the conditions of the accreditation commission only after an agreement with Kangnam University was signed and their professor could arrive in Olomouc to become the guarantor of the programme. Korean in Economics was launched thanks to the vital assistance by the Department of Applied Economics. This year in June our first alumni graduated,” added David Uher.
Lack of interest is really not an issue. Out of the one hundred and seventy applicants, thirty-six succeeded in entrance examinations. During their studies they will get a hands-on experience in Korean companies, and some of them will even study in Korea via student exchange programmes. Alumni of this study programme are often hired by Korean companies, mainly in the Moravian-Silesian Region. They will soon be allowed to enrol in the following Master’s study programme Korean Philology, which is already prepared for launching within Asian Studies. More information is available HERE and HERE.