Ahmedabad, Gujarat

The Academy of Korean Studies, a research institute under the Ministry of Education of the Government of the Republic of Korea in collaboration with Gujarat University and Jawaharlal Nehru University organized an international symposium titled as “Korea-India Partnership for Co-existence: Past, Present and Future” in Ahmedabad, Gujarat, on November 28-30, 2019. The opening ceremony was held on 28th November at 18:00 on the campus of Gujarat University and the two-day main session on 29-30 will be at the Hyatt Regency.

The purpose of this symposium is to provide a platform to academics, scholars, policy-makers, business leaders and the media from both countries to deliberate on how we can draw from the rich historical and cultural connectivity, economic complementarities and convergences of strategic outlooks of India and Korea, to reshape our bilateral relations into a much more robust partnership. Around 30 speakers are expected to take part.

The very idea of having this Symposium was conceived during the interaction between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and President Moon Jae-in during President Moon’s State Visit to India in July 2018. At that time, both leaders recollected that in the 8th century a Buddhist monk from Korea had journeyed around India, including Gujarat and wrote a travelogue. Both leaders agreed that these historical links needed to be re-emphasized through academic exchanges.

PM Modi’s message

H.E. SHIN Bongkil, Ambassador of the Republic of Korea underscored the importance of this when he said, “There are many lesser-known facts about Korea-India historical connections. The Symposium will explore how we are connected with each other through the ties of kinship and spirituality and also our long-standing tradition of friendship and cooperation in order to re-establish the lost emotional connection between our two people. We need to use the present to chart a new future on the foundation of our intertwined past.”

To put the Korea-India past connection, buoyant present and promising future relations into perspective, stalwarts from government, business, diplomacy, academia and media will speak on a wide variety of themes at this Symposium. It will present a great opportunity to understand the dynamic spectrum of Korea-India relations.

Attachment: Symposium Program

Some interaction extracts of Mr Ahn Byung Wook President of Academy Korean Studies

1) What is the Academy of Korean studies, what kind of activities is it doing?
The Academy of Korean Studies (AKS) is intensive research, education, and archival institution which conducts research related to the Korean studies, reserves and disseminates key Korean studies resources and archival materials, and also supports the future generation of Korean studies inside and outside Korea.

2) What is the aim of this international symposium and its meaning?
Gujarat is the significant place for both the countries because it is the place where the father of the nation, Mahatma Gandhi was born and the same place was introduced in a travelogue of the Korean Buddhist monk, Hyecho named Wang Ocheonchukguk jeon, when he travelled from Korea to India in the early 8th century. Hence, PM Modi and President Moon visited here last year and decided to hold the international symposium in order to encourage the academic and public relationship between Korea and India.

Throughout this symposium, we would like to share research outcome and details about Korea-India relationship from the ancient period to present time and listen to the opinions of the research scholars as to how to strengthen the future relationship between us.

Especially, Korean government, recently, has converged its interest in India considering it an important present and future partner, and it is having an appetite for interacting in the fields of Education as well.

3) How are you supporting Korean studies?
The AKS has two overseas research support department Center for International Affairs(CEFIA) and Korean Studies Promotion Service(KSPS).
CEFIA supports the research projects as follows
1. International Support for Korean Studies
• Korean Studies Grant
Support for scholars in their research efforts as well as in organizing international conferences. Support available to universities, research organizations, and affiliated researchers involved in Korean studies overseas.

• AKS Fellowship
To assist overseas Korean studies researchers, CEFIA offers round-trip airfare and supports research expenses for up to one year. Recipients can also use AKS’s library and other facilities.

2. International Conferences
• World Congress of Korean Studies & International Conference on Korean Studies is held an alternate year. These conferences facilitate the exchange of Korean studies research findings and the discussion about the issues related to Korean studies in Korea and abroad.

3. Education and Networks
• AKS Summer Program for International Students:

This four-week program seeks to foster the future of Korean studies by providing an opportunity to the university students majoring in Korean studies to come to Korea, attend language courses, pursue academic courses, and field trips.

• Societas Koreana
Offering lectures and meetings, as well as cultural field trips and traditional arts performances to foreign ambassadors, diplomats, and other opinion leaders by furnishing a chance to gain a deeper understanding of Korea and a personal connection to Korean culture.

5) What are they going to do for Gujarat students?
Students in New Delhi have JNU to quench their academic thirst with Korean Studies including the Korean language. 

But Gujarat doesn’t have an institution as of now to know accurately about Korea and Korean studies. So, this symposium would be the first chance for the students here to know about Korea concretely. And I hope their academic curiosity about Korean Studies will be the first and significant step to introduce Korean studies in Gujarat. I would like JNU to play the role of the leader of Korean studies in India in order to spread it to Gujarat. 

News Desk, DiplomacyToday.in

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