The 7th Korea Foundation Award ceremony was held in Seoul. It was organised by the Korea Foundation, which is a public diplomatic organisation whose activities are aimed at implementing educational projects and research programmes in Korean studies. The honorary title was awarded to the Rector of St Petersburg University Nikolay Kropachev.
In 2019, 31 people from around the world were nominated for this award.
he Korea Foundation Award was established in 2008 to honour the contribution of individuals and organisations to the development of relations between Korea and other countries. Over the years, it was given to: Martina Deuchler, the world-famous scholar in Korean studies from Switzerland; John Duncan, director of the Center for Korean Studies at the University of California, Los Angeles; Hartmut Koschyk, a member of the Bundestag; and other scientists, politicians, and public figures.
This year, the selection committee decided to award the Rector of St Petersburg University Nikolay Kropachev in recognition of his contribution to the development of relations between Russia and Korea. 2017 saw the establishment of the Department of Korean Studies at St Petersburg University, where the teaching of the Korean language dates back to the end of the 19th century. Additionally, representatives of the Korea Foundation noted the work of Nikolay Kropachev as the chairman of the Russian Coordination Committee of the ‘Dialogue Russia – Republic of Korea’ forum (DRRK).
During the ceremony, President of the Korea Foundation Lee Geun emphasised, ‘Since the Foundation has been in business, there have appeared people who have become a bridge for cooperation between Russia and the Republic of Korea. In gratitude, we have introduced an award. This year, after numerous discussions on the naming of the prize winner, we chose Nikolay Kropachev who treats our country with great understanding. He makes great efforts to strengthen the relations between Russia and Korea in all areas.’ Lee Geun also noted that the award to the Rector of St Petersburg University is taking place on the eve of the 30th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between Russia and the Republic of Korea. It will be celebrated in 2020.
‘I am very pleased that I can take an active part in promoting Korean culture in Russia and present Russians with its long rich traditions, as well as introducing Russian cultural tradition to the people of Korea,’ said Nikolay Kropachev, the Rector of St Petersburg University. ‘Here we are in full sympathy with our Korean colleagues in academic work and in the work on the “Dialogue Russia – Republic of Korea” forum. We have one path and common goals.’
The ceremony was attended by: Lee Geun, the President of the Korea Foundation; Lee Kyu Hyung, the chairman of the Korean Coordination Committee of the DRRK forum; Andry Kulik, the Ambassador of the Russian Federation to the Republic of Korea; Woo Yoon Keun, the ex-Ambassador of the Republic of Korea to Russia; and other distinguished guests. The nomination of Nikolay Kropachev for the Korea Foundation Award was initiated by: Kim Hyun Taek, the director of the representative office of St Petersburg University at Hankuk University of Foreign Studies; and Lee Ji-yeon, professor of the Institute of Russian Studies at the University of Hankuk.
120 years ago, it was at St Petersburg University that the first Korean language teacher in Europe began to work. At present, the University is considered to be the largest centre for Korean studies in Russia.
Currently, the University implements 20 academic programmes with the Korean component. Not only do students learn the Korean language, but they also study the economy, law and culture of Korea. It is noteworthy that the first representative office of St Petersburg University overseas was opened in the Republic of Korea – at Hankuk University of Foreign Studies. Also, a monument to Pak Kyongni was erected last year in the park of modern sculpture of St Petersburg University as a sign of friendship between the two countries.