The Ambassador Santhush Woonjin Jeong had the pleasure to meet the winners of the Korean language speech contest and felicitate them at the Korean Embassy on January 21. The Ambassador offered congratulations to the winners and expressed his appreciation for their excellent skills in speaking Korean.
Due to the prevailing pandemic, the Korean language speech contest was held online last December as an event of ‘Korea Week’. The Embassy of the Republic of Korea in Sri Lanka in collaboration with the Kandy King Sejong Institute Center successfully organized the Korean language speech contest and awards ceremony on a virtual platform.
On this occasion, the Ambassador conveyed his deep appreciation for all the participants and the organizers of the Korean speech contest for their interest and commitment to further Korea- Sri Lanka ties amid the pandemic.
“I believe that you are the bridge which connects Korea and Sri Lanka. Your interest and dedication to learn the Korean language is an example of our strong ties which has transcended national borders,” the Ambassador said.
The Ambassador further stated that the year 2021 is a significant year for Korea-Sri Lanka bilateral relations. “From 2021, the Korean language is officially adopted as a foreign language for advanced level curriculum by the Ministry of Education in Sri Lanka. It will be a leap forward to elevate our cultural bilateral relations,” he stated.
Furthermore the Ambassador expressed the unwavering support and assistance of the government of Korea in the expansion of Korean-language education in Sri Lanka. Last year people to people exchanges were blocked by the pandemic, however the establishment of the King Sejong Institute has provided a great opportunity for the Sri Lankan public to learn and familiarize themselves with the Korean Language and culture.
The Ambassador revealed that despite the differences of our two cultures we are united by the mutual respect and love shown to each other’s culture and language.
He also stated, “More Sri Lankan youth should be encouraged to learn the Korean language and become important assets to promote Korea-Sri Lanka friendship. I hope that friends from all walks of life in Sri Lanka will continue to work together to take our bilateral relations to another level and create a brighter future for our two countries. It is our strong belief that the student exchanges and cultural relations will keep strengthening and therefore will continue to make a greater contribution to consolidate our ties”.
The Ambassador elaborated that learning the Korean language would open the window to many job opportunities in Korea. The Korean government policy of ‘equal pay for equal work’ has further elevated the engagement in labour cooperation in recent years.
About 23,000 Sri Lankan employees are presently in Korea. Around 520 million US dollars were transmitted by them from Korea to Sri Lanka in 2019. The migrant workers bridge both countries in more ways than one, as they continue to contribute to the economic advancement of Korea and Sri Lanka.
The Ambassador also mentioned that the public health authorities in Sri Lanka have effectively implemented measures to battle Covid-19 here in Sri Lanka. Likewise the Korean authorities have taken aggressive anti-coronavirus efforts to combat and contain the pandemic. Many Sri Lankan workers live safely in Korea.
The Ambassador briefly touched upon the economic cooperation between Korean and Sri Lanka. He stated, “Korea is thankful to the international society including Sri Lanka for the support extended to Korea in the past. Now the time has come for Korea to repay by assisting Sri Lanka to achieve its development objectives. As a true friend, Korea would like to share the technological know-how and resources to help Sri Lanka achieve the so called Miracle on Kelani River like the Miracle on Han River”.
The Korean speech contest has successfully contributed to deepening the cultural ties between the two countries by providing recognition for the Sri Lankan youth who embark upon a new journey to broaden their future possibilities by learning Korean. The Korean Embassy will deepen and strengthen the Korea- Sri Lanka friendship in 2021 as well.
The following students of the Korean Speech Contest were awarded prizes by His Excellency Santhush Woonjin JEONG at the awards ceremony:
Kulara Wickramarachchi, a medical student won the first place. Her parents received her award on her behalf.
Dhananjaya Jayasinghe and Thanushi Rajapakse won the second place for their fluent Korean linguistic skills.
The third award winners were Aheesha Dilshani Jabir and Gimhani Dikkumbura.
All award winners were presented certificates and prizes in the presence of their parents. Moreover they had the opportunity to exchange pleasantries with the Ambassador. They suggested that since there are numerous Sri Lankans who are keen to learn Korean, the establishment of more Korean language institutes will greatly benefit them.