Every society has its own culture which is unique and has no innate superiority in comparison with one another. However, one culture is not independent from the other. Although their inner traits remain the same, their externality changes over the years through interaction among different cultures.
In fact, the environment for the world community is emerging into a new era of development in which 'culture' plays a stronger role to increase national strength and competitiveness. Thus, adding a cultural dimension into the economy is becoming more and more important in the new world order. In other words, culture is not only a medium through which people deepen their understandings of other people in foreign countries but also it is crucial element in promoting a nation's image and brand.
For this reason, advanced countries have made efforts long before to disseminate their cultures to the world community. Most of these countries established culture centers within the foreign countries n order to introduce their languages, arts, books, etc. Japan and China are no exception. Post-War Japan, with the support of its economic power, exerted to expand its culture overseas. China, too, joined the competition in expanding its culture by establishing 'Confucius Institute' in foreign countries. However, the important thing to mention is that the flow of these cultures are not one-way but mutual exchanges. It is simply because most of the world communities (including the less developed countries) no longer tolerate cultural imperialism of imposing one culture upon another culture.
With this in mind, we want to promote mutual exchanges of our culture with other nations. Of course, culture encompasses a variety of sectors such as movies, plays, pop music, festivals, games, lifestyles, and historical and cultural heritage. However, our efforts to promote Korean culture will focus on Korean language, 'hangeul' and Taekwondo. Not only is it due to the limitation of our resources
that forces us to make a choice of what we could do the best and what is more meaningful and helpful to our country in the long term aspect, but it is the fact that Hangeul is a symbol of Korean culture of the highest order. In that sense, it is one of the most distinguished features of Koreans and their culture.
In the last few years, Korean films, TV dramas and pop music have become immensely popular abroad, a phenomenon known as the Korean Wave, so called 'Hallyu'. As the Korean Wave took over many Asian countries, the popularity of the Korean language also has been increased drastically. For instance, the number of Korean speakers has grown among non-ethnic Koreans. Applicants for the Test of Proficiency in Korean (TOPIC) grew to some 150,000 people in 2008, up more than 100 percent from 72,300 a year earlier. The test, which started in 1997, is conducted twice a year in 31 countries, including Turkey, Laos and Indonesia according to Korea Educational Development Institute data.
And Taekwondo stands for Korea's national sentiment beyond its physical exercise. Besides, it has already become a well-known sport world-wide which has been formally adopted as an Olympic game. Thus we believe that promoting Hanguel along with Taekwondo would generate a synergic effect.
We know that there exist various public and private organizations that have made contributions in one way or another in this avenue, and that share similar interest as ours. We believe that it could be done more effectively if we do it in a much more systematic way in collaboration with various organizations (both within and outside Korea) who share common goals in pursuit of promoting Korean culture.