Envoys celebrate Public Diplomacy Night
Ambassadors and their spouses from nearly 40 countries attended the event, which was held for the second time this year and co-hosted by the Chey Institute for Advanced Studies.
Many of these diplomats or their predecessors shared glimpses of their home country through the Korea JoongAng Daily’s “Cooking with Her Excellency” series in 2015, “At Home with Her Excellency” series in 2016, “Trading Places” series in 2017 and “Capital Connections” series this year.
But speakers also focused on the role of public diplomacy in bringing about a denuclearized and peaceful Korean Peninsula.
“Thanks to the PyeongChang Winter Olympic Games held earlier this year in February, the prospects for peace on the Korean Peninsula have become quite tangible,” said Seoul Mayor Park Won-soon said in his keynote address.
Park said that he met earlier this week with International Olympic Committee President Thomas Bach to discuss a joint South and North Korean bid for the 2032 Olympic Games.
“The PyeongChang Olympics Games is a starting point,” said Park. “The Olympics in 2032 will be the concluding point of peace and unification on the Korean Peninsula.
Seoul has sister city and friendship city relations with 68 cities in 48 countries around the world.
The Korea JoongAng Daily, along with the Corps of Honorary Consuls of Korea, also awarded the Public Diplomacy Ambassador of 2018 to Michael Reiterer, the ambassador of the European Union to Korea.
“Public diplomacy is as much about listening as it is about talking, as much about understanding as it is about explaining - it is about communication as opposed to disseminating information only,” said Reiterer. “The goal is to create a better understanding, a basis for cooperation leading to joint action and mutual support because we know we share interests and values, we know what we have to work or fight for, to realize or to defend.”
He added that the diplomatic corps’ contribution to public diplomacy to enhance understanding and cooperation with the Korean people “will also contribute to the overarching goal here on the peninsula - peace through denuclearization followed by cooperation and development.”
Other speakers included Lee Hong-koo, a former Korean prime minister; Yoon Soon-gu, the Korean Foreign Ministry’s deputy minister for political affairs, Park In-kook, president of the Chey Institute for Advanced Studies and Jung Soon-kyun, head of the Gangnam District Office.
He continued, “I think the next few years are crucial for fundamentally changing the landscape of the peninsula and its neighboring regions,” which cannot happen “without the support and encouragement from the international community.” Yoon said that Korea should “seize that golden opportunity to secure peace here once and for all.”
“We can have a peaceful Korean Peninsula only if there is a peaceful Asia-Pacific,” said former Korean Prime Minister Lee Hong-koo. “On the other hand, as long as we have a very volatile situation on the Korean Peninsula, there cannot be peace in the Asia-Pacific. We need to solve this one way or another.”
Ambassadors and spouses attending the event in alphabetical order of the home country:
Abdul Hakim Atarud (Ambassador, Afghanistan), Ramzi Teymurov (Ambassador, Azerbaijan), Konul Teymurova (Spouse of Ambassador, Azerbaijan), Abida Islam (Ambassador, Bangladesh), Andrei Popkov (Ambassador, Belarus), Olga Popkova (Spouse of Ambassador, Belarus), Luis Henrique Sobreira Lopes (Ambassador, Brazil), Micheal Danagher (Ambassador, Canada), Stephanie Danagher (Spouse of Ambassador, Canada), Rodolfo Solano Quiros (Ambassador, Costa Rica), Oscar Gustavo Herrera Gilbert (Ambassador, Ecuador), Maria Roura De Herrera (Spouse of Ambassador, Ecuador), Hazem M. Fahmy (Ambassador, Egypt), Amal Nosseir (Spouse of Ambassador, Egypt), Michael Reiterer (Ambassador, European Union), Norgart Reiterer (Spouse of Ambassador, European Union), Fabien Penone (Ambassador, France), Otar Berdzenishvili (Ambassador, Georgia), Stephan Auer (Ambassador, Germany), Vera Auer (Spouse of Ambassador, Germany), Herbert Estuardo Meneses Coronado (Ambassador, Guatemala), Mozes Csoma (Ambassador, Hungary), Nam Sunmi (Spouse of Ambassador, Hungary), Saeed Badamchi Shabestari (Ambassador, Iran), Hayder Shiya Albarrak (Ambassador, Iraq), Ibtisam Aljibory (Spouse of Ambassador, Iraq), Julian Clare (Ambassador, Ireland), Siobhan Tracey (Spouse of Ambassador, Ireland), Adel Adaileh (Ambassador, Jordan), Eman Aldomur (Spouse of Ambassador, Jordan), Mohamed Gello (Ambassador, Kenya), Bader Mohammad Al-Awadi (Ambassador, Kuwait), Peteris Vaivars (Ambassador, Latvia), Bruno Figueroa (Ambassador, Mexico), Thura Thet Oo Maung (Ambassador, Myanmar), Nang Lao Ngin (Spouse of Ambassador, Myanmar), Frode Solberg (Ambassador, Norway), Herta Solberg (Spouse of Ambassador, Norway), Mohamed Salim Alharthy (Ambassador, Oman), Raul Silvero (Ambassador, Paraguay), Olga Centurion (Spouse of Ambassador, Paraguay), Mohamed Al-Dehaimi (Ambassador, Qatar), Emma-Francoise Isumbingabo (Ambassador, Rwanda), Yip Wei Kiat (Ambassador, Singapore), Singtong Lapisatepun (Ambassador, Thailand), Porndee Lapisatepun (Spouse of Ambassador, Thailand), Tazegul Mammetalyyeva (Spouse of Ambassador, Turkmenistan)
BY ESTHER CHUNG, SARAH KIM [firstname.lastname@example.org]