Sharjah: South Korea establishes King Sejong Institute's regional headquarters in emirate

The branch will deliver training courses and specialised programmes tailored to enhance the proficiency of Korean language educators across the entire Arab region

By Staff Reporter

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— Supplied photos
— Supplied photos

Published: Thu 15 Jun 2023, 3:45 PM

South Korea has announced a historic decision to establish the regional headquarters of their prestigious King Sejong Institute — an eminent institution renowned for its resolute representation of Korean culture on a global scale — in the emirate of Sharjah.

This momentous development places the institute’s branch in Sharjah with the paramount responsibility of delivering comprehensive training courses and specialised programmes tailored to enhance the proficiency of Korean language educators across the entire Arab region.

The announcement follows the signing of a memorandum of understanding (MoU) between Sharjah’s Government Relations Department (DGR) and the King Sejong Institute Foundation (KSIF), on the side-lines of the ongoing 65th edition of the signed Seoul International Book Fair, where South Korea is celebrating the emirate as its Guest of Honour.

The agreement seeks to boost cultural exchange between the UAE and South Korea and foster a deeper understanding and appreciation of Korean culture both locally and regionally, while also harnessing the invaluable teaching materials and resources offered by the Korean institute to enrich the instructional and mentoring capacities of educational institutions and colleges dedicated to foreign language teaching.

The MoU was signed by Sheikh Fahim Al Qasimi, Chairman of DGR; and Lee Hai Young, President of KSIF, in the presence of senior officials, cultural luminaries and media personalities.

Bringing the UAE and wider region closer to the rich Korean language & culture

As per the MoU, KSIF will strengthen Sharjah’s status as the regional headquarters of the King Sejong Institute by providing the Sharjah branch with strong, dedicated support. KSIF will be allocating highly qualified educational and administrative personnel, hold the Korean Language Assessment Test (SKA) at the branch, provide a rich repertoire of printed or electronic books and educational resources, and organise cultural and educational events throughout the year to support Korean language education amongst eager learners.

On DGR’s part, the entity will provide an outfitted space for establishing the Institute's branch in the emirate. This includes state-of-the-art administrative offices, classrooms, and additional facilities to enable seamless operations. Furthermore, the department will facilitate the appointment of an efficient management team to oversee the institute's day-to-day operations and expedite the timely introduction of an extensive collection of Korean books and educational materials, in both printed and electronic formats.

Realising a shared goal of elevating the pivotal role of language in promoting culture

Commenting on the agreement, Sheikh Fahim Al Qasimi, Chairman of DGR, said: “The establishment of the King Sejong Institute branch in Sharjah as a regional headquarters for the esteemed Korean cultural centre testifies to Sharjah's status as a leading intellectual and cultural hub, regionally and globally. It also adds to our 50-year journey of remarkable achievements under the visionary leadership of His Highness Sheikh Dr. Sultan bin Mohammed Al Qasimi, Member of the Supreme Council and Ruler of Sharjah, whose tireless efforts have been instrumental in cementing the emirate's international renown, positioning it as a vibrant global hub for civilisational and cultural exchange”.

“DGR's unwavering commitment lies in aligning with His Highness's vision by actively building bridges to foster fruitful and sustainable partnerships with our international counterparts, such as the King Sejong Institute. Together, we share a profound appreciation for the pivotal role of language in promoting knowledge and cultural exchange among nations,” he added

In turn, Lee Hai Young, President of the King Sejong Institute, said: “We chose Sharjah to be the main regional centre for our institute in recognition of its cultural status and its active promotion of the value of dialogue between civilisations at the global level. We believe in the importance of language as a means of communication and understanding between peoples, and hope that the institute’s regional headquarter in Sharjah contributes to achieving this goal, and also serves to develop new friendships and partnerships between South Korea, the UAE and the rest of the region”.

“We consider the signing of this MoU an important step towards consolidating and strengthening cultural and educational cooperation with the Arab world, as an opportunity to provide high-quality services and programmes for language education, while also introducing the public in the region to the most important aspects of Korean culture,” he added.


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