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Canada celebrates 150th anniversary of Confederation

Marking the 150th anniversary of Canada’s Confederation, there will be a series of cultural and educational events in Korea this year, according to the Canadian Embassy in Seoul.

The Canadian Confederation refers to the process by which the former British colonies of Canada, Nova Scotia and New Brunswick were united into one Dominion of Canada on July 1, 1867. The new federal state was then composed of the four provinces of Ontario, Quebec, Nova Scotia and New Brunswick.

Since the confederation, Canada has undergone numerous territorial changes and expansions, resulting in the current configuration of 10 provinces and three territories.

Members of the Korean Association for Canadian Studies and staff of the Canadian Embassy, including Political Counsellor Patrick Hebert, pose for a photograph at the association’s general meeting at the embassy in Seoul on Friday. (Joel Lee/The Korea Herald)
Members of the Korean Association for Canadian Studies and staff of the Canadian Embassy, including Political Counsellor Patrick Hebert, pose for a photograph at the association’s general meeting at the embassy in Seoul on Friday. (Joel Lee/The Korea Herald)

“The four major themes of the 150th anniversary are diversity and inclusion, reconciliation with indigenous peoples, youth and the environment,” said Patrick Hebert, embassy political counsellor, at the general meeting of the Korean Association for Canadian Studies held in the diplomatic compound in Seoul on Friday.

Explaining the origin of word “Canada” -- the Iroquoian term “kanata,” which means “village” or “settlement” -- Hebert said the country got its name in an encounter between French explorer Jacques Cartier and indigenous inhabitants of the present-day Quebec City region.

Some key events planned by the embassy this year are a creative writing contest in the spring for Korea’s elementary, middle and high school students, who will submit short stories on a theme related to Canada, which will be reviewed by a panel of Canadian authors.

At the Busan International Short Film Festival in late April, Canada will participate as a guest country, presenting 30 movies and bringing 10 filmmakers and producers. In June, Canadian authors will visit Korea and feature their books at the Seoul International Book Fair, also as a guest country. 

In May, a specialized tour of the embassy, with food tasting events and video streaming, will be held as part of Jeongdong Culture Night festival. Around July 1 Canada Day, a day of national celebration, the embassy will organize a festive event for the public.

In Canada, the sesquicentennial anniversary will be used as a launching pad for numerous events -- everything from a cross-country recreational vehicle tour to an extravaganza on the Parliament Hill -- with a half billion dollars spending by the federal government.

The largest share of the money, $300 million, will be delivered by regional development agencies through the Canada 150 Community Infrastructure Program, a government fund used to revamp public facilities and community infrastructure.

“Celebrating the 150th anniversary, the Korean Association for Canadian Studies will host seminars for popularizing Canadian studies in Korea,” said Lee Seung-ryul, the association president and professor at Korea Aerospace University. “To this end, we will translate works of Canadian writers into Korean, publish books on Canadian studies and establish courses related to Canadian studies in liberal arts across universities.”

Among the participants in the meeting were Lee Jae-jeong, Gyeonggi Province education superintendent, Lee Gi-chun, former Vancouver consul general and Korean ambassador to Argentina, and Huh Sook, former president of Gyeongin National University of Education in Incheon.

The association, established in 1992, is an official member of the International Council for Canadian Studies with some 40 board and 200 general members. The organization is dedicated to strengthening research and exchange between people with ties to or interest in Canada, and publishes the Asian Journal of Canadian Studies biannually. 

Over the last 25 years, it has invited many academics, journalists, artists, diplomats, politicians and bureaucrats to its seminars covering Canada-related law, literature, politics, diplomacy, history, economics, science and engineering, tourism, culture and education.

By Joel Lee (joel@heraldcorp.com)
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