Up-close and personal diplomacy at schools

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Up-close and personal diplomacy at schools

Ambassadors, diplomats and other members of the foreign diplomatic community in Korea will sit down with middle and high school students in Yongsan District in central Seoul from today to hold candid talks concerning what they love about their work and their countries.

The Yongsan District Office announced on Thursday that at least 27 embassies in Korea agreed to participate in its educational program for ambassadors and diplomats to pay a visit to middle and high schools in Yongsan for up-close and personal talks on their mission and their countries.

The first lecture will be given by Saudi Arabia’s Ambassador to Korea Riyad A. Almubaraky at Shinkwang Girls’ High School today. He will be discussing various cultural aspects and Saudi Arabia’s economy.

“The students will be able to hear from the ambassadors and diplomats themselves on what it is that they do and what they love about their countries,” said a Yongsan District Office official. “Students, in return, will present the speakers with their national flowers to express their gratitude.”

Three more lectures from embassies are planned for this year, the Yongsan District Office said - the Georgian Embassy’s visit to the Jungkyung High School and the Rwandan Embassy’s visit to the Bosung Girls’ High School on Dec. 20, followed by the Vietnamese Embassy’s visit to the Yongsan High School on Dec. 23.

“The program, the first of its kind among local governments, will be expanded next year,” the official added. “Students will be able to request lectures from embassies whose countries they want to learn more about.”

The 27 embassies that signed the agreement with Yongsan District Office include those of Mexico, Switzerland, Ivory Coast, Kuwait, Paraguay and China. According to the district office, 58 out of 111 embassies in Korea are located in Yongsan.

“Yongsan District Office will do all it can,” said Sung Jang-hyun, head of the district office, “to help the students grow up with international minds and perspectives.”

BY ESTHER CHUNG [chung.juhee@joongang.co.kr]

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