Kim Sunmyung, the Director of Pushkin House in South Korea
On the power of culture and universal values in diplomacy
Kim Sunmyung has been popularising Russian culture in Korea for many years. She is sure friendly relations between countries should be acquired through cultural ties and universal values. Throughout the debate of the Second Eurasian Women’s Forum, she shared about the activity of Pushkin House in South Korea and the role of women in culture and civic diplomacy.
Kim Sunmyung - Director of Pushkin House, South Korea
Seoul’s Pushkin House was established to spread Russian language and culture in Korea. The centre is open for everybody and provides courses of Russian for Koreans and of Korean for Russians. Besides, Pushkin House publishes textbooks and Russian literature.
The Centre regularly holds its events in different formats. One of the largest is the annual ‘Pushkin Festival: Russian Day for Schoolchildren’. Its program features an essay competition in Russian and other topical activities.
Pushkin House takes part in international literature projects. Participating in them, Centre’s representatives share their love of Russian culture with other countries.
Kim Sunmyung shared that erecting a monument to Aleksander Pushkin in Seoul became a significant milestone for her. The new sight helps Korean citizens feel the proximity of Russian culture, while Russian tourists visiting South Korea can take warm memories home.
Kim Sunmyung has been the head of Pushkin House for 16 years. She mentioned the activity of the organization being closely linked with civic diplomacy. For all those years, Ms. Sunmyung’s mission involved establishing cultural links and mutual understanding between Koreans and Russians.
According to Kim Sunmyung, modern diplomacy combines hard and soft power. The first one is connected to country’s military strength and economic power. The second one involves culture and universal values. Besides, soft power can influence politics just as much as the traditional diplomacy.
Kim Sunmyung said: “I think that the 21st century should be the time for soft power to become an essential part of foreign policy. We, the women, are able to find compromises, build mutual understanding, and establish friendly ties among our relatives, people around us, and even countries. Peaceful world is essential for us. I am sure we can achieve it”.
Kim Sunmyung was awarded the Eurasian Women’s Forum Prize for Establishing Humanitarian Cooperation in the nomination of Women in Culture to recognise her vigorous action.
Anna Repina, news agency of the Eurasian Women’s Community
Translated by Nikolay Boykov