Support for overseas dissemination of Korean studies books


[한겨레Book] Paik Won-geun’s Publishing Weathervane

Last July, the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) removed Korea’s status from the list of developing countries and changed it to the list of developed countries. It is said that this is the first time in 57 years that the list has changed since the establishment of this international organization. It seems that there are more people who do not know about this work that should be a blessing for the nation and nation than those who know. Have we really become a developed country? It is not unfamiliar to the question of computer engineer Park Tae-woong (Hanbit Biz), who asks, “Has Korea become a truly advanced country with the world’s ninth-largest GDP (Gross Domestic Product)?” Exchanges and support for culture, academics, and publications cannot be excluded among the elements that make up ‘advanced country’. For example, the Korea Foundation’s ‘Korea Research Data Support Project’ belongs to this category. To encourage education, research, and academic cultural activities related to Korea abroad, books and audiovisual materials related to Korea are provided to overseas universities, public libraries, research institutes, and museums. In-kind materials are supported within the limit of the book purchase cost of about 2 million won for each application institution. In this way, in 2020, 9,296 books were applied to 116 offices in 37 countries. This means that 80 copies have been distributed to 100 support sites. With this project, 16,158 copies were distributed overseas in 2000, and 22,314 copies were distributed to 290 offices in 59 countries in 2010. In other words, it can be seen that the scale of support has retreated to less than half of what it was 10 years ago and 20 years ago. Compared to last year, 206 universities in 71 countries supported the operation of a total of 950 Korean (language) courses. The same goes for publishing support. The number of projects supporting the local publication of Korean-related foreign language works decreased from 18 in 2000 and 20 in 2010 (7 languages) to 6 in 6 countries in 2020. It can be seen that this year’s budget is about 170 billion won, and it is being operated as a conventional business that is almost at the level of contempt. The budget in 2010 was 78.1 billion won, so book-related projects were reduced to a quarter of the budget. The Korea Foundation also publishes a document called This is a data that has been researched and analyzed every year since 2012 with the cooperation of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and diplomatic missions overseas. The 2020 edition contains the current status of Hallyu in 109 countries in a total of four booklets. It also contains the shameful achievement that the number of overseas Hallyu fans (number of club members) exceeded 100 million for the first time. That’s twice the number of Koreans. However, if you look at the current status of this data by country, Korean, music, broadcasting, film, Korean food, sports, beauty, and performance fields are investigated in detail, but ‘publishing’ is omitted as if it were natural. This is in contrast to the fact that the publication field is included in the annual publication of the Korea International Cultural Exchange Promotion Agency, which has a similar name. Unlike articles written by experts, it can be a valuable resource because it can contain vivid information with the cooperation of the local embassy. The Korea Foundation uses the international exchange contributions that citizens pay when issuing passports. As it claims to be an institution specializing in public diplomacy, it is expected that it will take a more active role in supporting the international distribution of Korean studies-related publications and international publication exchanges. Representative of Books and Social Research Institute

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