By Park Jin-hai
Overseas Korean journalists will join with a local non-governmental organization to promote Dokdo and issues related to the East Sea.
The Overseas Korean Media Association and the Voluntary Network for Korea (VANK) signed a memorandum of understanding Tuesday to this effect. The agreement was reached in Siheung, Seongnam City.
As the first joint initiative under the MOU, the association will help VANK’s on-going project, “In Search of a Korean Dream,” by disseminating some 10,000 Arirang World Maps and cards to overseas Koreans and Korean student bodies globally.
In turn, VANK will place a promotional 13-minute video clip titled “Global Korea’s Dream” to promote the joint project on its YouTube website, to spread through social network services.
The poster-like Arirang World Maps published by the NGO contain information on Korean history, its history of immigration and Hangeul, with the ultimate goal of raising awareness of Korea.
The Arirang Cards include information about the values and versatile renditions of Arirang, a national folk song, as well as a translation of its lyrics. The song was listed as an Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity by UNESCO.
Following the signing of the MOU, VANK appointed 60 local university students as honorary ambassadors. They are expected to work in their respective cities to promote Korea and Dokdo, Korea’s easternmost islets, to which Japan also claims sovereignty.
Present at the signing ceremony were some 70 journalists from Thailand, Indonesia, Singapore and Nepal, currently attending the 12th Overseas Korean Journalists Convention that opened Monday.
VANK, dubbed a “cyber diplomatic organization,” was started in 1994 by a young man who discovered how little his pen pal knew about Korea. Of the little information he did know, much was distorted. VANK has since grown to have more than 70,000 members.
The organization was borne out of a need to provide accurate and reliable information about Korea by engaging in projects that promote a positive image of the country, mainly by asking foreign Internet sites or agencies to correct false data. These include issues such as Dokdo and wartime sex slaves, who were euphemistically called “comfort women” by Japan during World War II,
The Overseas Korean Media Association, launched in 2002 with a membership of some 40 member companies has equally grown into a global network bringing together about 130 newspapers and broadcasters for ethnic Koreans resident in 63 cities in 32 countries.