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Message from the President

Welcome to our Website as the Korea Foundation stands on the Threshold of its Jeju Period

The Korea Foundation (KF) was established in 1991 to promote the charms of Korea to the world and to perform and support public diplomacy in order to deepen mutually friendly international civil networks. Since its founding, the KF has worked on various foreign exchange programs including the promotion of Korean studies, networking to foster international cooperation, arts and cultural exchanges, and media projects. Today, the KF stands tall as a specialized public diplomacy organization that represents Korea.

To date, the KF has assigned 136 professorships in 91 universities across 16 countries and has created a Korea Room in 28 prominent museums in 10 countries. Some 10,000 important guests have been invited to help increase mutual understanding. The KF has additionally managed materials and data related to Korea in 1,900 libraries in 138 countries, and in 2018, launched the Public Diplomacy Academy program. According to the Public Diplomacy Act, the KF is the only “institution that conducts public diplomacy” and it is growing thanks to the participation of all citizens.

Message from the President photo

In 2018, after an opportunity presented by the PyeongChang Olympics, a number of inter-Korean and US-North Korea summits took place, spreading hope for peace on the Korean peninsula. However, there are still many obstacles to building trust, not only between North and South Korea but also among the major countries surrounding the peninsula. Various factors such as North Korea’s nuclear weapons, unilateralism and nation-centrism, and competition between powerful states threaten the international environment. The South Korean government’s efforts to achieve peace on the peninsula and gain the unwavering trust of international society can only lead to meaningful results if they are achieved through continuous human exchange with international civil networks. Establishing these exchanges and networks is the role of public diplomacy and the mission of the KF.

Korea is now an advanced nation of which we can be proud. Each time I return to Korea after a trip abroad, I realize the degree of progress that has been achieved. Our outstanding public facilities and human resources, well-structured systems, clean environments, and global pop culture reach the highest international standards. Of course, there are certain areas in which we do better and others in which we can improve. However, we have already established a country worthy of pride on the global stage. We must develop Korea further and let the world know of our excellence. For that purpose, we need to perform the roles and responsibilities that suit our position. I believe that establishing Korea’s status among the international community in an attractive way is the goal that today’s public diplomacy should strive to achieve.

In July of 2018, the KF moved its headquarters to Seogwipo on Jeju Island as per the policy on the relocation of public agencies. Moving forward, in respect to the purpose of this relocation, the KF will contribute to the development of Jeju, the “Island of World Peace,” and will initiate even more diverse international exchange programs in each region through the tripartite system comprised of the KF Headquarters in Jeju, the Global Center in Seoul, and the ASEAN Culture House in Busan. We promise that the KF will continue to put forth earnest efforts to establish solid international civil networks and to spread our appeal to the world.

Thank you.

Geun Lee
The Korea Foundation