|A gaggle of youth crowds a buffet table for a taste of traditional Omani treats during an open house of the Omani Embassy in Seoul on Friday. (Omani Embassy)|
Five embassies here opened their chanceries to the public on Friday as part of the foreign diplomatic community’s participation in “2013 Seoul Open Night,” which took place over the weekend at several sites around the capital.
The embassies of Oman, New Zealand, Poland, Turkey and Brazil opened their doors as part of the Seoul metropolitan government’s “Open House Seoul,” when more than 200 facilities opened to the public including the mayor’s official residence, large companies, museums and galleries and, of course, foreign diplomatic missions in South Korea.
“It is a great idea for embassies to open their doors to the public in the interest of promoting cultural understanding and people-to-people exchanges,” said Omani Ambassador to South Korea Mohammed bin Salim Al Harthyin an introductory speech before junior high school students at his chancery on Friday.
“We welcome all of you here today,” he said, and then launching into a brief Arabic lesson: “As-Salaam-Alaikum,” the Arabic greeting meaning, “Peace be upon you.”
The Omani ambassador also treated visiting guests ― chatty schoolchildren included ― to traditional Omani treats such as halwa and sweet dates.
Led by official guides of the Seoul Open Night, the kids were literally hopping in anticipation as they entered the chancery, which has the outward appearance of a medieval Arabic castle.