Special Contribution Commemorating the 200th Issue of KT
Special Contribution Commemorating the 200th Issue of KT
  • 경남타임즈(경남대학교)
  • 승인 2024.06.24 14:54
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Almaty, Kazakhstan, in front of the Korean Education Center, spring 2019.
Almaty, Kazakhstan, in front of the Korean Education Center, spring 2019.


I. Entering

 Last March, ‘The Kyungnam Times’ (KT), the English-language quarterly magazine of Kyungnam University (KU), celebrated its 200th publication. Founded in 1977, KT is celebrating its 47th anniversary in 2024. As the Director of Center for University News and Press, I would like to congratulate and thank everyone, including President Park Jae Kyu of KU, for their efforts to ensure the successful operation of KT.

 KT is available via mobile services and on the web at ‘kutimes.kyungnam.ac.kr’. KT publishes spring, summer, fall, and winter issues, printing 1,500 copies every quarter. Issues are distributed to 345 domestic institutions (universities, specialized high schools, general high schools, middle schools, etc.) and 16 overseas universities.

 At the KT Editorial Board meeting held in March, I was asked to make a special contribution to KT to celebrate the publication of KT's 200th issue. Therefore, I would like to take this opportunity to briefly touch on the pivotal role played by KU in East Asian affairs and my own academic history and contributions.


II. Kyungnam University is the Mecca of North and South Korean Unification Research

 When it comes to research on the unification of North and South Korea, KU’s Institute for Far Eastern Studies is by far the best in the world. This esteem is greatly owed to the contributions of the president of KU, Dr. Park Jae Kyu (former Minister of Unification), who is widely considered to be the highest authority on Korea's unification policy.

 KU was recently selected by the Ministry of Unification for its ‘Leading Unification Education University’ development project, an honor that it has received multiple times in the past, which designates and fosters universities that implement unification education systematically, comprehensively, and creatively. The project plays a leading role in revitalizing unification education in universities by developing unification education and expanding unification-related liberal arts subjects. As a result of being selected for the project, KU has received financial support for research and academic and educational activities.


III. Kyungnam University is a Leader in Civilian Diplomacy between Korea and Russia

 President Park Jae Kyu is renowned as a civilian diplomat between Korea and Russia, a prestige he has held since even before the collapse of the Soviet Union. In 1990, he contributed greatly to the establishment of diplomatic relations between Korea and the Soviet Union.

 President Park also successfully achieved sister city agreements with several Russian cities: these include between Gyeongsangnam-do and Khabarovsk, Busan City and Vladivostok, and Masan City and Ussuriysk. I personally assisted President Park Jae Kyu in striving for exchange and cooperation between Korea and Russia, faithfully performing my role as a Russian expert.


IV. My Motivation for Studying Abroad in the Soviet Unio

 I studied abroad in the former Soviet Union and obtained a master's in June 1995 and doctoral degree in Russian language and literature in June 2000 from the Far Eastern State University, or FESU (now known as the Far Eastern Federal University, or FEFU). While majoring in Russian, I also studied English as a foreign language. A brief introduction of the process by which I came to study abroad at FESU is as follows.

 By the end of May 1988, I had finished my military service, and I returned to KU as a junior majoring in business administration in March 1989. During summer vacation that same year, I received an opportunity that changed the entire course of my life: I was selected by the Ministry of Education as a member of the first 'Soviet Culture Training Group' among university students across the country.

 Our group consisted of 24 university students from 18 universities across Korea, including the SKY (Seoul, Korea, Yonsei) Universities. I was given the honor of being the student president. In addition to college students, the group also included professors, newspaper reporters, and high-ranking officials from the Ministry of Education. Our 16-day journey from Korea to Russia was very long: we traveled from Gimpo International Airport (Korea) to Anchorage (USA), then to Paris (France), then to Stockholm (Sweden), then to Moscow (USSR), then to Leningrad (USSR). On the return trip, we travelled from Leningrad to Moscow, then to Stockholm, then to London (UK), before finally returning to Gimpo.

 Upon arriving in Moscow, we attended a special seminar for our group on the ‘Perestroika’ (Reform) and ‘Glasnost’ (Openness) policies of then-General Secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union, Mikhail Gorbachev. The ‘Seminar on Perestroika and Glasnost of the Soviet Union’ was conducted by researchers and professors from the former Soviet Union’s Institute of World Economy and International Relations, or IMEMO, and the Institute for US and Canadian Studies. Following the seminar, there was a heated discussion with Korean university students.

 After moving to Leningrad (now known as St. Petersburg), we enjoyed the essence of Soviet culture. Among this cultural training program, we attended an opera viewing at the ‘Leningrad Music Hall’.

 When I visited the Soviet Union during the Cold War, I did not understand the Russian language, but I felt a surge of emotions while watching the Russian opera performances, which truly impressed me. Right then and there, I made a firm decision that I would definitely learn Russian after returning to my country. I wanted to be able to speak Russian, the language spoken by the great Russian national writers Pushkin and Tolstoy. So, once back in Korea, I started learning Russian on my own, enrolled in a famous academy in Seoul, and studied hard during vacation.

On the day that General Secretary Gorbachev visited Korea's Jeju Island in 1991, I was the first Korean to receive a visa for the Soviet Far East and was able to go to FESU, the Russian university where I wanted to study. With the help of many people, I achieved my dream of studying abroad. In particular, this would not have been possible without the help of KU President Park Jae Kyu. I would like to take this opportunity to express my deepest gratitude to President Park.

V. Contribution Activity to KT

 My relationship with KT began when I was a college student. To be more precise, in the summer of 1989, after attending the ‘National University Student Soviet Cultural Training’ program, I had the opportunity to start contributing to KT. 

 My first article contribution was ‘Realities of the Soviet Union and Perestroika,’ which summarized my training experiences in the Soviet Union. My second article contribution was ‘Let’s Study a Foreign Language’, which emphasized the importance of studying a foreign language for local college students. I also contributed an article titled ‘Students will have to master at least one second language, particularly English’, an English interview article conducted with undergraduate professors. Later, I published a Korean version of my paper, ‘The Development of the Perestroika Movement in the Soviet Union’.


VI. Exit

 Currently, I am working as a professor in the School of Liberal Studies at KU. At the same time, as the head of an affiliated institution of KU, I hold the position of Director of Center for University News and Press. At KU, I teach Russian-related subjects and liberal arts courses in face-to-face and cyber lectures. I also conduct academic and research activities in related fields. At the same time, I am actively engaged in volunteer work in various government and local organizations and professor groups, including the KU Alumni Association. Among them, I am most passionate about KT operations and work, and will do my best to help KT develop infinitely in the future. Thank you for taking the time to read my article.


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