You are the Brand of Korea!
Who is the “Brand of Korea”? Is it Yuna Kim, who won her golden medal in front of every world citizen as a definitely renowned figure skating queen? Is it Bae Yong Jun, who made a number of females in Asia his big fans? Is it Rain, who finally became a hero in hollywood movie? Is it Ban Ki-moon, who is the 8th Secretary General of UN? Or is it President Lee Myung Bak? Well, you should say “No” to that question. Then, Who is it? Answer with proud, confident, and loud voice. “It is me, absolutely!”
VANK, Voluntary Agency Network of Korea, is now holding an exhibition in National Museum of Korea. The title of the exhibition is “You are the brand of Korea!”
VANK is a voluntary force of Korea that is made to inform Korea to every world citizen. VANK works online and offline to make Korea more known to world by providing basic, cultural, and historical information about Korea, promoting tourism to Korea, boosting communication between global citizens and Koreans, and helping people learning about Korea. That includes correcting wrong information about Korea, boosting pen-pals between Koreans and people from other countries, posting information of Korea online, making goods that represent Korea, and doing voluntary work in other countries.
So many people visited the exhibition. Especially, children who came for learning were seen the most frequently. Voulunteers were beside each visitors in order to explain more specifically and properly about the exhibition. The most impressive thing was a table and bulletin board at the entrance. The table was made in order to distribute world map to the visitors. In the map, each country’s unique cultural heritages and souvenirs were signaled with cute pictures. Of course, Korea’s map was enlarged at the side in order to emphasize things that are famous in Korea’s each region. The bulletin board’s title was “What does Korea in the world after 10 years look like in your mind?” There were pink heart-shaped post-its provided on a table and people were busy writing their own words on each post-it. A child (deduced from the style of writing letters) wrote ” The first country in the world”. I guess it must be “The best country in the world”
The first part of the exhibition was about wrongly written information on foreign textbooks, official websites and official documents. This part of the exhibition surprised and alarmed many visitors. For example, in many textbooks, SAT tests and official websites and documents of renowned world organizations, Korea’s territory was marked as other country’s and even Korea’s history was known to be included to other country’s history. These were reflection of how much our proud and wonderful country, Korea, was unknown and weak on this globe.
The next part was about corrected information as a result of effort of Koreans. When some Koreans found this false information about Korea, they immediately called for correction and apologize. Finally, many of them were corrected, and this exhibition was proudly showing Koreans’ patriotic power. VANK, who usually works for this kind of purpose, were main force and effort for this positive and hopeful outcome. The most frequent case was about East Sea, which was mostly marked as Sea of Japan before. Through progression like this, Korea is more correctly known to the world, finding its own identity.
The third part was about ‘Friendly Korea’, improving Korea’s brand image to global citizens. This was about VANK’s PR Korea 200,000 project, which is to train 200,000 cyber civilian diplomats and make 5 global friends each, eventually making 1000,000 global friends. This activity mostly includes spreading Korean culture to foreign friends by, for example, attractive-looking post cards that have beautiful pictures and specific explanation about Korean culture. The most impressive thing was ‘Han Style’ postcard, which is postcard that shows culture that includes the word ‘Han’ such as Hanji, Hanbok, and so on. It introduces Korea’s own style, making Korean culture remarkable to other countries’ people. By making people living in the other side of the world interestd about Korea, VANK belives that we can be friends together.
The last but not least, the exhibition ended with ‘Becoming world changer’. Details were about becoming a global leader and participate in world issues as an active global citizen. Further step from being a Korean citizen and dealing with Korean issue in the world, VANK asserts that as a world citizen, we have to become a world changer, a leader, and aggrecively participate in world problems, for example, through volunteer activity and so on. As a ‘Brand of Korea’, becoming a world changer also means cultivating image of Korea to a peak where we can be a critical part of the world.
Going up doesn’t always mean making your grade higher, earning more money, achieving better social status, or winning in a game. This campaign, “Korea Brand UP!” doesn’t mean that Korea should record more GDP or Korean university should be at higher rank or Korean economy should grow more or Korea should invent new scientific technology faster than other countries. This has to do with Korea’s image in the world, how much other global people know about Korea, and in what way they’re accepting information about Korea. That’s why VANK is actively working now and they’re achieving a great deal of success in the world. I hope this activity never stops and goes on and on in the future. This could be a unique feature and pride of Korea, even a tradition of Korea. VANK will be forever, even after Korea is known to every single person on the earth.