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Before living here, I was fortunate enough to know something of the country, having already acquired a Korean bride some 10 years before I had even set foot on the peninsula. But what I did not know far outweighed that small stock of knowledge, and since then my wonderful experiences amongst Koreans have left a remarkable impression of true friendship and admiration for their culture. Unfortunately, not many people in the world can have the same opportunity of knowing these people so well.
There is good news. State-of-the-art technology eradicates geographical obstacles. ... Let’s take the case of Arirang TV, Korea’s English-language channel, which beams Korea’s message throughout the world by satellite. ... As it bears such an important and extremely formidable task of “branding a nation,” Arirang TV deserves even more recognition within Korea.
It is important to comprehend the challenges of a domestically created project intended for a global audience. Imagine that you were given the task of representing your nation to the world by creating “global” content in a foreign language, but with limited resources. Any country would face substantial difficulty ... However, in the case of Korea, it has to eradicate still existing images of war and a divided country, all of which do not tell the whole truth of Korea’s recent accomplishments. ...
Last year, the Korea Trade-Investment Promotion Agency invited me to head its Invest Korea Unit created to attract Foreign Direct Investment. As a foreigner representing a very Korean endeavor ― and a government-run one at that ― I was crucially aware of the need to improve Korea’s image abroad in order to effectively harness foreign investment. In order to improve the national image, Korea should devote continued interest and investment to Arirang TV. Arirang TV cannot accomplish the task alone. ...
So, I urge you to tune in to Arirang TV. See for yourself the contribution Arirang is making. And through your constructive criticism and support, make Arirang TV the next Guus Hiddink for the mission of creating a national image.

by Alan Timblick
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