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International RASK seminar on the theme of “Evolving Indo-Korea Relations

Perspectives on South Asia” at University of Delhi 

  • The 9th edition of the international seminar by Researchers Association for the Study of Korea, touches the international level by receiving participation from 20 educational and research organizations and 36 presenters from the countries like India, Nepal and S.Korea.

New Delhi, Researchers Association for the Study of Korea (RASK) organized the 9th edition of the international seminar on the theme of “Evolving Indo-Korea Relations; Perspectives on South Asia” at the Conference Hall at the Delhi University Social Sciences Department. The two day seminar was graced by eminent and budding scholars.

Mr. Shashi Mishra opened the seminar with a welcome speech, followed by Professor Kapil Kapoor, Chancellor of Mahatma Gandhi Antarrashtriya Hindi Vishwavidyalya who gave opening remarks on the inherent Asian values and the pressing need for relations transcending trade and economy. He went on to add that it is in terms of a wealth of knowledge that India has something to contribute. With the accumulation of wealth comes the decline of such knowledge. “The kind of discipline on acquisition, on indulgence, on consumption and own self… I’m sure that is embedded in both cultures. I am very happy to see Korea studies flourishing.” Professor Sreemati Chakrabarti, Dean of Faculty of Social Sciences at the University of Delhi stressed on the need for RASK to serve as an impetus for a whole generation of Korean studies related academicians not just restricted to other corporate or translation-related avenues. From, the Korean side, Minister Ahn Min-sik from the Embassy of the Republic of Korea gave a purview of deepening bilateral ties.

A compilation book consisting of the previous year’s papers from the seminar was launched under the auspices of its editor, Professor Sushila Narsimhan, with the guests doing the honors of the book launch. Titled “Deepening India-Korea Relations; Towards a sustainable future”, both comparative and Korea-centered papers by young scholars encompassed a range of disciplines such as society, politics, law, security, economy, etc. Professor Kang Kyong-son’s keynote address on the merits of both countries albeit from a constitutional law-based perspective was a fitting end to the kickoff session, concluding that “I hope both countries are shoulder to shoulder as one of the advanced countries by developing human rights, peace, truth, democracy and constitutional justice.”

On the second and final day of the RSAK Seminar, the academic discourse heightened by presentations on History and Religion, Society, Environment & Geography and Culture. Into the 9th year of its conception, the RASK has seen more innovative academic papers on the direction of India-Korea relations and how the two countries can move forward in adopting each other’s merits. Reetu Sharman, one of the presenters at RASK talked about “The question for universal health coverage in India: Lessons from peer countries” where she pointed out relevant details from the South Korean health coverage system that provides adequate care to its citizens, a most pressing issue for India. Another paper based on the title “The Ombre Shades Korean-Manipuri Popular Culture” highlighted the immense popularity of Korean culture, especially the Korean Wave in the North-East region of India where Korean soft power is leaving its imprints and expanding to the rest of the country.

 All in all, the seminar sponsored much intellectual discussion on what was previously unchartered territory related to bilateral relations between two countries that seemingly have had less interactions than other global partners. This seminar was monumental and is especially apt in discussing the merits of bilateral relations in the face of President Modi’s own planned visit to South Korea soon this year.  A focus on these ties first on an academic forum and later on more official exchange is expected to tap into the enormous potential that these countries pose to each other.

Next year, the RASK meets its 10th anniversary and to mark this occasion, the seminar will seek to include the entire South Asian region.

Researchers’ Association for the Study of Korea (RASK) supported and sponsored by the Korea Foundation in collaboration with Department of East Asian studies is an association which aims at bringing scholars and academicians from India and Korea together to share their research about both countries and learn from each another. A special emphasis of the association has been upon the areas where India and Korea have been cooperating or having strong potential to learn from each other in fields ranging from culture and philosophy to science and economics. Moreover, the association also ventures to explore further the areas of synergy between the two countries by conducting future oriented studies and research.

Prof. Kim Do-young (founder of RASK and the Director of Association of Korean Language Educators in India) said, “Korean studies and language has been able to entice more than 600 people during the past 20 years. No. of participants to learn Korean have shown hike of 98% in the recent years; also, 90% of the Korean learners are employed in eminent companies. It definitely depicts the Indian mass acknowledgement of the growing presence of Korean study and language.  This conference specially, has been growing up from the size of a few but zealous core members. Now it became  more than twenty educational and research organizations. This year, the number of presenters is almost forty. This became the most consistent platform for young academicians related with research on Indo-Korea.  It has been sponsored by the Korea Foundation for last nine years. Without their help, it would not come this wonderful growth. We aspire to strengthen the Indo-Korea relations by  further setting up platform through many such educational and cultural exchange program which may provide more insight and understanding of both the countries to the scholars and academicians”

“I have been witnessing the growing no. of scholars and academicians showing their interest in becoming the member of Indo-Korean think-tank team, also I hope this seminar would definitely bring the new perspective and ideas to bring both the countries much closer “said Asst. Prof. Shashi Mishra, the president of the RASK.

RASK enjoys the participation of national and international eminent universities such as: (1) University of Delhi, (2) Jawaharlal Nehru University, (3) India Institute of Technology, Delhi, (4) Jamia Millia Islamia, (5) Banaras Hindu University, (6) Manipur University, (7) Central University of Jharkand, (8) Central University of Gujarat, (9) Central University of Kerala, (10) Central University of Haryana, (11) Manipal University and (12) Azim Premji University.

This year, the seminar received participation from Indian neighboring countries such as Nepal and Sri-Lanka along with India and Korea being the focus countries. The seminar will lead to further enrichment of the knowledge-base and perspectives of all those interested in India-South Korean relations. We also hope that the seminar shall help us to jointly come up with insightful recommendations for external and public policy formulation and implementation aimed at strengthening India-South Korean relations.

At the same time, the seminar create a platform that will engage academics to have deeper discourse on the following areas (1)Politics and International Relations, (2) Security, (3) Economy, (4) History and Religion, (5) Society, (6) Culture, language and Literature.

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