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Forum explores cultural communication, diversity at global level

CICI President Choi Jung-hwa (fifth from left) and participants of the 2021 Culture Communication Forum pose for photos at Grand Hyatt Seoul on Wednesday. (CICI)
CICI President Choi Jung-hwa (fifth from left) and participants of the 2021 Culture Communication Forum pose for photos at Grand Hyatt Seoul on Wednesday. (CICI)

The pandemic has changed the way people communicate. While the world appears hyperconnected thanks to the internet, connectivity does not necessarily mean communication, say participants in the 2021 Culture Communication Forum.

The forum kicked off Tuesday at the Grand Hyatt Seoul in Yongsan, central Seoul.

“Cultural communication has never been more important since the outbreak of COVID-19, making the forum’s theme ‘cultural communication as a way to share core values of international community’ meaningful,” French Secretary of State for Digital Transition and Electronic Communications Cedric O said in his congratulatory remarks. O joined the forum virtually.

French Secretary of State for Digital Transition and Electronic Communications Cedric O delivers his congratulatory remarks online, Tuesday. (CICI)
French Secretary of State for Digital Transition and Electronic Communications Cedric O delivers his congratulatory remarks online, Tuesday. (CICI)

“The digitalization has brought essential changes in our lives. While transcending the geographical boundaries and allowing the cultural interaction online, the growth of digital platforms is also confining the users to the limited contents sorted by one’s interest or American standard. In order to truly achieve the successful cultural communication more issues should be discussed,” he added.

In its 12th edition this year, the forum organized by the Corea Image Communication Institute hosted cultural leaders from the Americas and Europe.

In compliance with the nation’s social distancing guidelines, the hybrid forum featured live online presentations by global cultural leaders who participated remotely and a discussion with on-site panelists.

After the opening ceremony, Delphine O, secretary-general for the Generation Equality Forum, delivered a keynote speech on women’s leadership and representation in culture and communication. She highlighted the need for greater representation of women in the media, the arts and other creative content industries to break gender stereotypes and fight harmful beliefs that lead to discrimination.

Cultural diversity was another theme of the forum. According to Corriere della Sera columnist Beppe Severgnini, Italy has seen a dramatic change in recent years in terms of appreciating diversity. German Ambassador to South Korea Michael Reiffenstuel highlighted the importance of cultural diversity and mutual understanding.

Wednesday’s session touched on cultural communication and pressing social issues. The need for assistance programs to cover artists’ living expenses so they can weather the pandemic was mentioned, as were museums’ efforts to attract visitors from different generations. Other topics included information bubbles, the impact of a proposed “fake news” bill on Korean journalism and the future of the creative content industry in the COVID-19 era.

Choi Jung-wha, president of the Corea Image Communication Institute (CICI)
Choi Jung-wha, president of the Corea Image Communication Institute (CICI)

“Solidarity and cooperation of the international community is of utmost importance to fight against the extended COVID-19 pandemic. Being one of the core values we share with the world is cultural communication, I hope we become closer to each other and receive insights from various cultural leaders across the globe,” CICI President Choi Jung-hwa said.

Among those at the two-day forum were Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology President Lee Kwang-hyung; Jeju Research Institute President Kim Sang-hyup; Song Seung-whan, executive artistic director of PMC Production and chief director of the 2018 PyeongChang Winter Olympics Ceremonies; and many other domestic and foreign scholars, foreign envoys and cultural experts.

Dinesh Patnaik, director general of the Indian Council for Cultural Relations, closed the forum on Wednesday

“The COVID-19 pandemic immensely affected our culture, but this led the public to realize its importance and power. Without books, music, films and TV programs, how can anyone survive from the lockdown and intense social distancing? While the people are benefiting from the various contents, the creators are suffering heavily from the COVID-19. The plans to support the artists are definitely needed to be discussed,” he said.

Patnaik also said he hoped to see true intercultural communication.

“In our modern society, distance is meaningless. Reflecting to the historical story, the Indian princess became a Korean queen spreading the culture of India. With our advanced technology, why can’t we do it better?” he said.

Highlights of the forum will be available over the next month on the YouTube channels Koreanet, MOFA_Koreaz and Choi JW Rendez-vous.


By Lee Si-jin (sj_lee@heraldcorp.com)
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