14th CQ Forum fetes the sharing of Korean culture

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14th CQ Forum fetes the sharing of Korean culture

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Choi Jung-hwa, president of the Corea Image Communication Institute (CICI), poses with members of the CQ Forum last week at the Grand InterContinental Seoul in Samseong-dong, southern Seoul. The forum has been held twice every year since 2006 and the evening was hosted by the CICI to congratulate the graduates of the 14th forum. By Park Sang-moon


On a recent weekday evening, a diverse group of people - from ambassadors to chief executive officers - gathered at the Grand InterContinental Seoul hotel in Samseong-dong, southern Seoul. Dressed in red and white, about 70 attendees, including Singapore Ambassador Peter Tan and Renault Samsung CEO Francois Provost, were present as members of the 14th Korea CQ Forum, hosted by the Corea Image Communication Institute (CICI).

“There are many people who join us not only once but several times,” said CICI President Choi Jung-hwa. “Whenever we start a new group, we think to ourselves whether there would be new Korean culture-related programs to offer our members, but we always do manage to find new cultural events every time to present to them.”

The CICI, which was founded in 2003, has hosted the forum twice a year since 2006 to offer Korean and foreign opinion leaders a variety of lectures and activities to help them understand Korean culture. Each forum is scheduled with 10 programs. The 14th CQ Forum members, for example, visited the southern port city of Busan and the Lock Museum in Daehangno, central Seoul. They also visited the residences of the Singaporean and Jordanian ambassadors for a glimpse of those cultures.

CQ refers to five quotients - culture, concentration, communication, creativity and cooperation.

The evening at the Grand InterContinental Seoul was in part to congratulate graduates of the 14th CQ Forum and award prizes to several participants.

The Korea CQ Award, also known as the grand prize, went to Tan, Singapore’s ambassador, for demonstrating excellence in the five quotients and “providing opportunities for CQ members to experience firsthand the culture of Singapore.” Tan invited CQ members to his residence, where they enjoyed traditional Singaporean cuisine, culture and sang songs in his noraebang, or singing room.

“It’s an honor and privilege to receive this award,” said Tan. “I’ve been a member of the CQ Forum since I came [in] February 2011. It allows me to meet people outside the circles of government and politics, which helps me and my wife understand Korea society much better.”

The ambassador added that CQ Forum activities, including visits to palaces and presentations by experts from different fields, increases foreigners’ awareness of Korea.

Jordanian Ambassador Omar Nahar received the Korea CQ Concentration Award while Vincent Bernard, country general manager of Christian Dior, received the Cooperation Award. Joris Dierckx, chief country officer of BNP Paribas Seoul, received the Culture Award while Francois Provost, chief executive of Renault Samsung and Christian Loucq, director general of International Vaccine Institute, received the Must Rejoin Award.

“I feel very lucky and I hope I deserve it,” said Nahar. “I hope I’m a successful student; I still have a lot to learn.”

He noted that he’s looking forward to being part of CQ again.

“The CQ programs are always very creative, they surprise us pleasantly,” he said, with a big grin.

CICI officials said that the 15th Korea CQ Forum will begin in February and is currently gathering members.

“Anyone can become a CQ member,” said Choi, who is a French professor at Hankuk University of Foreign Studies.

By Lee Eun-joo [angie@joongang.co.kr]

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