The Ambassador of the Republic of Korea to Nigeria, His Excellency Choi Jong-hyun, has stated that the coming into force of the Agreement on Cultural and Educational Cooperation between Korea and Nigeria was a good testimony to the deepening and widening of collaborations in cultural ties between the two countries.
Jong-hyun, who disclosed this in Abuja, Saturday, 16 November, 2013, at the Korean National Day celebrations organized at the Congress Hall of Transcorp Hilton Hotel, noted that since establishing diplomatic relations with Nigeria in 1980, both countries have continued to foster strong political, economic and cultural ties.
His words: “The cooperation between the two countries in various international organizations cannot be better. The economic ties between the two countries are getting closer and closer with bilateral trade expected to exceed three billion US dollars this year.”
According to him, it was in the bid to build upon the achievements recorded so far in Korea’s bilateral relations with the great country of Nigeria that the Korean Embassy, in collaboration with Transorp Hilton, was hosting the Korean Cultural Festival in Abuja, on the theme, “Invitation to Korean beauty and flavour,” which, he stressed, will serve as veritable avenue to share Korea’s rich heritage in cuisine, music and film with Nigerian friends, thereby helping the two countries to get closer.
The cultural festival, which will last eight days beginning from 16 November, is expected to be an all-encompassing cultural event including Korean food, live music performance and film festival, just as traditional Korean musical troupes “Nanta and Yeorang,” performed both traditional and modern songs at the opening ceremony.
The highlight of the opening ceremony/reception was the presentation of Korean cuisine (porridge, cold and hot appetizers, bulgogi and galbijjim (braised beef ribs)), where world-renowned Korean dishes, jointly prepared by culinary experts from Woosong University in Korea and Hilton Chefs were served.
According to an earlier press release, dated 14 November, 2013, and signed by the Director, Korean Cultural Centre, Abuja, Kwon Yong-ik, for three nights, beginning from 18 to 20 November, 2013, the Zuma Restaurant at Transcorp Hilton Hotel, Abuja, will serve Korean food to the general public with the restaurant decorated with traditional Korean lanterns, ceramics, and other artefacts to enable guests to fully enjoy the Korean atmosphere.
Furthermore, professors from Woosong University were expected to give presentations on Korean culinary culture to 50 Nigerian cooks and Hilton Hotel chefs on 20 November, to demonstrate the preparation of typical Korean foods.
From 21st to 23rd November, Korean movies recommended by the Korean Film Council, such as ‘Forever the Moment,’ ‘Epitaph,’ ‘Highway Star’ and ‘Rough Cut,’ will be screened at the Silverbird Cinemas in Abuja from 6pm-10pm; and during the screening, the Korean pop club (Hallyu) will organize a K-pop flash mob on the sidelines of Korean cloth wearing experience event and a photo contest at the theatre entrance.
The press release further stated that this year’s festival will be the biggest Korean cultural event since the establishment of diplomatic ties between Nigeria and Korea, thus deepening mutual understanding and communication between the two countries; and the festival is also expected to offer a good opportunity to raise the awareness of Nigerians on Korean food, thereby paving the way for the opening of Korean restaurants in Nigeria.
The Executive Secretary of the National Institute for Cultural Orientation (NICO), Dr. Barclays Foubiri Ayakoroma, was represented at the opening ceremony by the Acting Director, Orientation and Cultural Affairs, Mr. Alex Omijie, who was accompanied by his wife, Ijeoma.