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New foreign diplomats get crash course on Korea

2011/12/11 | Permalink | Source

Dominican Republic Ambassador to Korea Grecia Fiorda Licia Pichardo asks a question during a lecture on Korea's rapid economic development at the Institute of Foreign Affairs and National Security in Seoul, Thursday. / Courtesy of IFANS

By Philip Iglauer

Dozens of foreign diplomats and ambassadors got a crash course on Korea in a program organized by the Institute of Foreign Affairs and National Security (IFANS) in Seoul, Thursday.

The research institute's two-day program, "Introduction to Korea", which included lectures, museums tours and informal lunches and dinners, wrapped up Thursday with a dinner reception for the participants hosted by the IFANS Chancellor Lee Joon-gyu on Thursday.

Ambassadors from the Dominican Republic, Sri Lanka, Costa Rica, Gabon and Papua New Guinea participated in Thursday's activities.

IFANS is directly affiliated with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade and functions as a center for ideas on diplomacy and a focal point for the training of elite diplomats.

"I am participating in this seminar in order to learn more about Korea's development history and Korean culture", said Chhim Kokaneath, 3rd secretary at the Cambodian Embassy in Korea.

Dominican Republic Ambassador to Korea Grecia Fiorda Licia Pichardo expressed keen interest during a lecture on how Korea pursued its rapid economic development, Thursday.

As a think-tank for foreign affairs and national security, the institute offers policy recommendations and long-term approaches for the ministry while building a network with various institutes from major countries through active academic exchanges.

The program included a slew of lectures on topics including next year's nuclear security summit, Korea's rapid economic development and the history of Korean film as societal metaphor.

IFANS's Lee, who is a 30-year-plus career diplomat with important high-level foreign postings including one in China, reviewed Korea's foreign policy for the participants.

In 1963, the Educational Institute of Foreign Service Officers (EIFSO) was established by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to train foreign service officers.

In 1965, EIFSO was expanded to include research on foreign affairs and was renamed the Research Institute of Foreign Affairs (RIFA).

The group was again re-organized into the present-day IFANS in 1977, with a redoubled focus on its research function.

IFANS has established itself as the largest research and training institute of its kind in the nation.

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