60th anniversary of Spain-Korea ties

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60th anniversary of Spain-Korea ties


Juan Lena, right, Spain’s ambassador to Korea, delivers opening remarks on Wednesday at an event held at the KT&G Sangsangmadang Academy in Mapo District, Seoul, to mark the 60th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic ties between Korea and Spain. By Jeon Min-kyu

To mark the 60th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic ties between Korea and Spain, an event titled “Spain: New Urban Cultures, Seoul 2010” was held from Wednesday to Thursday at the KT&G Sangsangmadang Academy in Mapo District, northern Seoul.

Spain’s Ambassador to Korea Juan Lena gave a talk on the two countries’ cooperation in the cultural sphere. “The level of exchanges between the two countries is going well, but it is not enough,” Lena said. “We have to work far more and achieve more.”

The occasion served as a dialogue among artists from both countries.

Paco Plaza, director of “REC” and Korean director Kim Ji-woon, who made “I Saw the Devil” said more exchanges among people in the countries’ film industries were needed because Spain and Korea don’t know each other very well.

“Many Spanish people encounter different cultures through films,” Plaza said. “In this sense, cultural exchanges between two countries should be further promoted, so we can get to know different perspectives and people.”

“Once Korea makes its films known in Spain, and vice versa, we could possibly start a joint project,” said Kim. “I can easily break the ice with Spanish people by talking about two common interests: food and soccer.” The Europeans’ view of Korea was also discussed by designers. The panels agreed in that the label “Made in Korea” was viewed positively in Europe. “For Europeans, Korea itself is a kind of brand,” said Spanish fashion designer Juan Duyos.

Lee Doii, a Korean designer who studied in the U.K. and worked in Paris, said, “Europeans generally have an image of Koreans as hard-working and smart. The brand should be a boon for the industry.”

Spanish photographer Miguel Trillo showed his works while Celia Jimenez, chef and R&D director of Bodegas Campos, promoted Spanish cuisine.

The attendees agreed that Koreans and Spanish have many shared characteristics. “The fact that both Korea and Spain modernized very quickly is very significant,” Lena said. “Both countries suffered through dictatorships. And now, the two countries are becoming leading economies in the world. [Through this dialogue] we have seen many possibilities of coming together in the fields of cinema, design, fashion and gastronomy.”

The program was hosted by the Ministry of Culture of Spain, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade, the Spanish Embassy in Korea, Casa Asia and the Korean Foundation.

By Yoo Sun-young Intern Reporter [enational@joongang.co.kr]
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