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11/05/2018 HYU News > Academics

Title

[Excellent R&D] Reaching Out to Africa Through Public Diplomacy

Professor Kim Sung-soo (Department of Political Science and International Studies)

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With five of the ten fastest growing world economies dwelling in Africa, the continent has emerged to be a newly industrializing region. It is well-known as the blue ocean, appropriate for international investment and as a diplomatic destination. As a result, South Korea has shown interest in Africa. In particular, the Hanyang University Institute for Euro-African Studies became the first organization in the nation to establish the Korean Studies Center in Africa at Tanzania’s University of Dar es Salaam. The director of the institute, Professor Kim Sung-soo (Department of Political Science and International Studies) highlighted the significance and possible effect that the project by Hanyang University Institute of Euro-African Studies could bring. 
 

The project, “New diplomatic approach to Africa: Establishment and diffusion of public diplomacy strategies with Nigeria, Algeria and Tanzania," started on September 1st, 2018. It is led by National Research Foundation of Korea and the Hanyang University Institute for Euro-African Studies, functioning as the key research center. The project focuses on public diplomacy in Africa in the cultural, socioeconomic, and educational disciplines. Kim emphasized that public diplomacy should not be a one-sided donation but should support various activities that the citizens of the target countries are subject to through private and academic exchanges. “It is crucial to establish public foreign policy in accordance with the local situation in African countries,” asserted Kim.
 

Professor Kim Sung-soo (Department of Political Science and International Studies) stated that the African continent and its nations are now a blue ocean with tremendous opportunities.


There have been previous attempts to initiate exchanges between South Korea and the African continent but visible limitations existed due to a lack of an in-depth local information system in addition to the sole focus on one-off businesses, which did not bring any long-term benefits to either sides. As a result, in order to make improvements regarding the past limitations, the Institute of Euro-African Studies at Hanyang University began its research on Nigeria, Algeria, and Tanzania, the countries that could be sustainably connected and produce synergistic effects with South Korea. These nations were selected based on various criteria such as the Human Development Index (HDI), the Foreign Direct Investment (FDI), and the Official Development Assistance (ODA). 
 

(Left) Professor Kim Sung-soo (Department of Political Science and International Studies) at the opening ceremony of Tanzania Embassy in the Republic of Korea and investment briefing session with (right) the Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade of Tanzania, Augustine Mahiga, and (center) the embassador of the Tanzania Embassy in the Republic of Korea, Matilda Swilla Masuka.
(Photo Courtesy of Hanyang University Institute of Euro-African Studies)


Nonetheless, Kim and his team at the Institute of Euro-African Studies faced some difficulties when they visited the African nations in the beginning. One of the difficulties was that it took time to persuade the people they met in Africa because some expected to become beneficiaries rather than cooperative partners to take actions together with. However, there were benefits as well because as representatives of the educational institution, there were no challenges in meeting business groups and government officials to talk about the project. As an ongoing project until 2023, it will concentrate on sharing various Korean cultural, economic, and educational know-hows with Africa. The ultimate goal is to create a coexisting network for South Korea and African nations through public diplomacy.
 

Professor Kim Sung-soo (Department of Political Science and International Studies) in front of the Hanyang University Institute of Euro-African Studies, the key institute selected for the current public diplomacy project in Nigeria, Algeria, and Tanzania.


Kim hopes that the Hanyang University Institute of Euro-African Studies will be the leading platform to carry out public diplomacy in African nations. He concluded by encouraging students to pay more attention to the newly emerging continent and believes that exchanging culture and ideas will be beneficial to both South Korea and Africa.



Seok Ga-ram        carpethediem@hanyang.ac.kr
Photos by Park Guen-hyung

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