A government-civilian panel to promote nine “seowon,” or private Confucian academies established during the Joseon Dynasty (1392-1910), as UNESCO world heritage sites was launched in a ceremony in Seoul on Wednesday.
The panel is comprised of 19 experts in the government and the private sector, including Kim Chan, administrator of Korea’s Cultural Heritage Administration, and Choi Gun-duk, chairman of the Korea Seowon Association.
The Presidential Council on National Branding and the CHA have pushed for the Confucian academies to be recognized by UNESCO along with the seowon association and local governments since April last year. The nine well-known schools were recognized by UNESCO as provisional world heritage sites in December.
|Dosan Seowon. (Cultural Heritage Administration)|
The organization plans to apply for formal registration in January 2014.
The academies were established to honor noted Confucian scholars with regular memorial rites as well as to educate the youth of the dominant ideology. Seowon, the local footholds of Joseon’s neo-Confucian literati class, also served as a venue for discussion of state affairs and social management of the era.
Seowon embodies the quintessence of the literari class, who governed Joseon society based on Confucianism, containing the key to understanding the Confucian culture of Joseon and the ruling class with the ideology.
The nine seowon are Sosu Academy in Yeongju, North Gyeongsang Province, Nangye Academy in Hamyang, South Gyeongsang Province, Oksan Academy in Gyeongju, North Gyeongsang Province, Dosan Academy and Byeongsan Academy in Andong, North Gyeongsang Province, Dodong Academy in Daegu, Pilam Academy in Jangseong, South Jeolla Province, Museong Academy in Jeongeup, North Jeolla Province, and Donam Academy in Nonsan, South Chungcheong Province.