British Council celebrates its high-tech learning centerThe British Council Korea hosted a reception last night in honor of its new culture center. The institute, now part of the international British Council and Knowledge and Learning Centre program, is located in the Hungkuk Life Insurance Building in Shinmun-ro, Jongro district.
“The Information Center is a place where young people can connect with contemporary U.K. through a combination of online, multimedia and printed materials,” says Shoba Ponnappa, the director of British Council Korea.
She gave the opening speech, followed by Warwick Morris, ambassador of the United Kingdom. Morris commented on the growth of the center from a staff of four people working out of a few rooms in what is now the embassy garage, warmly adding, “From that little acorn 30 years ago, they’ve grown to this modern facility.”
The center, which opened to the public on Jan. 5, was designed by Si Architects and offers many the latest amenities, from wireless Internet access, videoconferencing with alumni, distance learning zones and a newly designed Web site due to launch at the end of June.
The interior reflects a contemporary, high-tech, yet welcoming world that the staff hopes will portray the United Kingdom.
The center also offers services such as counseling about studying abroad, pre-departure briefings and a library of art reference books.
For those studying English, there’s preparation materials for British examinations, a young learner’s collection of storybooks and graded readers.
“This new space will enable us to go from strength to strength,” says David Green, the director general of British Council, who flew to Korea from the United Kingdom for the opening event.
When British Council Korea opened its previous facility in 1999, it was in Taepyeong-ro, Jung district, near the British Embassy. But with the launching of the international Knowledge and Learning Centres, the center was targeted for growth. The new center is 33 percent larger then the old one.
The first Knowledge and Learning Centre opened in New Delhi in January 2002, with a second in Belgrade, Yugoslavia, in March 2002. With the addition of the facility in Korea, there are now more than a dozen Knowledge and Learning Centres around the world.
This year also marks the 70th anniversary of the British Council. To commemorate the occasion, British Council Korea hosted “Magic Pencil,” an exhibition of U.K. children’s book illustrations that ended yesterday. The rest of the year is packed with events from modern dance to photo exhibitions.
British and Korean officials are currently working on a Korean culture center that will open in London in the near future.
by Joe Yong-he
For more information, visit the Web site at www.britishcouncil.or.kr