Co-organized by the Ministry of Culture of Turkmenistan and the Embassy of the Republic of Korea in Turkmenistan, the Korea Week has officially opened. Its opening ceremony was held at the capital’s Ashgabat Cinema.
Bilateral relations are now enjoying an upswing as evidenced by regular summit, intergovernmental and interdepartmental meetings. Indeed, one of the key areas of Turkmen-Korean dialogue is humanitarian cooperation, which has rich traditions and is built on understanding the role of spiritual values in the nations’ development.
Ever-increasing contacts between our countries in education, science, culture, tourism and sport also stand as an eloquent testimony. In this context, the Korea-Central Asia Friendship Association, an organizer of festivals, concerts featuring performing artists, exhibitions, cultural exchanges, and others, has an instrumental role to play.
The importance of enhancing humanitarian cooperation was highlighted at the summit meeting in April 2019 during a state visit by President of the Republic of Korea Moon Jae-in to Turkmenistan. A substantial number of documents signed by the two countries include the Agreement between the Governments of Turkmenistan and the Republic of Korea on Cultural and Humanitarian Cooperation.
The parties agreed to establish the Korean Language & Culture Center of the King Sejong Institute Foundation at the Azadi Turkmen National Institute of World Languages. President Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov suggested that the two countries’ relevant ministers explore prospects for closer cooperation in training of qualified specialists.
Given the countries’ mutual interest in promoting a cultural dialogue, the Turkmen leader proposed to hold a Turkmen-Korean Cultural and Artistic Forum in Ashgabat in 2020.
As noted, there is a wide field for cooperation in sport and tourism. Soon, Turkmenistan seeks to develop a conception of cooperation with the Republic of Korea in tourism.
Our country’s modern development draws keen interest and close attention in the friendly country. A notable example is books by the head of state Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov, in particular the one titled ‘Turkmenistan – the Heart of the Silk Road’, translated into the Korean language. Released last year, the edition has marked an important moment in the history of ever-growing Turkmen-Korean relations and is seen as the recognition of outstanding achievements of the nation’s leader in his state, political, scientific and cultural activity.
Our country shows great respect to the Korean language and the friendly nation’s ancient distinctive culture. The Azadi Turkmen National Institute of World Languages has been training specialists in Korean Language and Literature for more than 10 years. Earlier this week, the King Sejong Korean Education Center at the Turkmen National Institute of World Languages has started running evening Korean-language courses.
Our countries have successfully co-organized Culture Days of Turkmenistan and Korea, providing a fascinating insight into the two nations’ vibrant cultures and arts, concerts, film screenings, themed exhibitions, festivals, scientific conferences, and other joint humanitarian events. This demonstrates the Turkmen and Korean nations’ willingness to learn about each other’s unique traditions and world views.
As part of the Korea Week, held in early September last year, our country hosted a conference entitled ‘The Significance of the Silk Road and Its Modern Understanding’, Korean food and film festivals, and Korean folk dance performances.
In turn, as part of ‘The Central Asian Spring Festival’, an exhibition showcasing Turkmenistan’s national culture and art was held in the city of Seoul in March 2019. Organized by the Korean Foundation for International Cultural Exchange, the festival celebrated the 10th anniversary of the inclusion of Nowruz on the UNESCO’s Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity and its declaration by the United Nations General Assembly as International Nowruz Day.
Today, Ashgabat has once again welcomed participants in the Korea Week. The friendly country’s delegation that arrived in our country to take part in the forum includes expert scientists, representatives of Korea National Sport University and the Korean Cultural Center in the Republic of Kazakhstan.
Speakers at the opening ceremony stressed the importance of cultural exchanges and popularization of spiritual values and cultural heritage in strengthening peace and friendship, promoting the mutual enrichment of cultures and greater understanding between the two nations, and encouraging closer humanitarian dialogue.
Then, a fashion show was staged to showcase Korean traditional clothing, hanbok. It featured various hanbok dresses, including casual outfits and stunningly beautiful wedding gowns. The spectacular fashion parade was most enthusiastically received by the audience. Interestingly, yesterday, those attending an event organized at the Berkarar Shopping and Entertainment Center as part of the Korea Week, were offered the opportunity not only to see artfully made handicrafts, but also to try national Korean clothing on and have their photographs taken.
Turkmen cinema goers became familiar with specific characteristics of the friendly country’s national films by watching a film called ‘Forever the Moment’ (2008). It tells the remarkable story of the Korean women’s handball team which reached the finals at the 2004 Summer Olympics in Athens and won the thrilling match to become silver medal winners.
Sport is one of the traditional areas of Turkmen-Korean cooperation. Martial arts are now enjoying great popularity, and Taekwondo, a traditional Korean martial art, has a special place among them. Residents and guests to the Turkmen capital will be treated to demonstration events at the Magtymguly National Music and Drama Theater on September 5.
On September 6, the final day of the Week, a seminar on key aspects of Turkmen-Korean relations will be organized in a conference hall at the Yyldyz Hotel.
The Korea Week program also includes a presentation of traditional Korean dishes that will take place at the Berkarar Shopping and Entertainment Center.
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