|Choi Jung-hwa (front row, second from right), president of the Corea Image Communication Institute, Lee Don-joo (front row, third from right), president of mobile phone operations at Samsung Electronics, and jazz vocalist Nah Youn-sun (front row, fourth from left) pose with delegates and foreign envoys during CICI Korea 2014 in Seoul on Wednesday. (Yoon Byung-chan/The Korea Herald)|
Every year, the Corea Image Communication Institute puzzles over the person, place or thing that promoted South Korea’s image abroad the most.
CICI awarded the equine dance sensation Psy last year; the group recognized the PyeongChang 2018 Winter Games Bid Committee in 2012; and the year before that, it lauded Incheon International Airport.
This year’s “Korea Image Stepping Stone Award” went to Samsung Electronics’ Galaxy smartphone for its “enormous contribution toward promoting Korea’s image as an IT powerhouse,” according to the event program at CICI Korea 2014 in Seoul on Wednesday.
“The Samsung phone embodies the essence of Korea’s spirit. So, a recipient need not be a personality,” said Singaporean Ambassador to South Korea Peter Tan Hai Chuan. “Conventional wisdom might dictate such an award should go to a person, but an object or an item can represent Korea well. I cannot think of anything better than Samsung Galaxy to receive this award.”
Even Sung Kim, the top diplomat from the United States, joined in the chorus of accolades for the nation’s iconic handheld device. “As the U.S. ambassador I have to carry an iPhone, but even I know that Samsung phones are great.”
CICI also recognized Fleur Pellerin, the Korean-born French Minister Delegate for Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises, Innovation and the Digital Economy, with the Korea Image Stepping Stone Bridge Award, for her work in promoting cultural communication and understanding between her country and South Korea.
Wednesday’s award ceremony marked a decade in CICI’s project for promoting South Korea’s image abroad and enhancing cultural understanding and exchange.
“2014 is another special year for CICI, and as this annual event enters its 10th year the CICI Image Awards has become one of most sought-after events,” said Choi Jung-hwa, president of CICI. “As we enter the Year of the Horse, CICI promises to continue to make its utmost effort, like galloping horses, to promote a positive image of Korea to the international community.”
Jazz vocalist Nah Youn-sun was conferred the Korea Image Flower Stone Award for her musical achievements in Europe.
The award ceremony also celebrated CICI’s 10th anniversary in promoting South Korea’s image around the world. VIPs in the worlds of diplomacy, entertainment and business attended, including Samsung Electronics executive president Lee Don-joo and actor-director Park Joong-hoon.
Henri Loyrette, former Louvre Museum director, and Chairman of the High-Level Expert Panel on Water and Disaster Han Seung-soo were also on hand.
Some 40 heads of diplomatic missions here attended as well, including ambassadors Kim, Jerome Pasquier of France, Konstantin Vnukov of Russia, Aram B. Cisneros Naylor of Panama and Koro Bessho of Japan.
By Philip Iglauer