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Lecture outlines South Korea’s journey towards prosperity

By Abeer Numan - Aug 13,2014 - Last updated at Aug 13,2014

AMMAN — Venturing out of poverty and despair has been no easy journey for the people of South Korea, but it has become possible through their diligence and relentless efforts to ensure proper education, according to Ji-Young Lee, director of the Centre of Korean Culture and Archaeology.

Delivering a lecture about South Korea titled: “Do you Know Korea?” on Tuesday, she highlighted the Asian country’s geography, history, culture and development. 

Lee explained how life was difficult for Koreans 50 years ago, and how they managed to move ahead towards hope and development. 

South Korean families used to celebrate their babies 100th day, their first birthday, and their 60th birthday because they did not expect to live that long, but today, people are living for 100 years, according to Lee.

South Korea was the poorest country in the world after India, with a family’s annual income standing at $76 a year, while in 2013, the country’s gross domestic product totalled $200,000, she told the attendance.

HH Prince Mired, Senator Yassin Khayyat, former chairman of the Higher Judicial Council Rateb Wazani and Korean Ambassador Choi Hong-ghi were among the attendees, in addition to other officials and members of the Jordan Korean Friendship Association, and the Korean community in Jordan. 

South Korea’s quick economic growth is considered a miracle and referred to as the Miracle of Hangang, Lee said, noting that Jordan can also make miracles, as the Kingdom has qualified human resources — a main characteristic that the two countries have in common. 

For South Korea, the secret of success is the diligence of its people, reiterated the ambassador, describing it as “one of the major secrets of success”.

Besides their high work ethics, the diplomat emphasised Koreans’ focus on education.

“Parents go hungry to send their sons to school,” he said, underscoring his government’s support and its consistent economic planning.

“Without this strong government support, it would have been hard to implement this kind of plan,” said the ambassador.

Also, many Koreans are in the habit of saving money, he said, noting that the government can use this capital to drive economic growth.   

Today, South Korea’s primary goal is unification, asserted Lee, who is also the National Advisory Council representative in Jordan.

“We hope the unification may come soon,” she told The Jordan Times. 

“Unification is amazing”, this is a statement that South Korea’s president Park Geun-hye keeps repeating, according to Lee. 

In her lecture, she presented several photos, depicting the natural beauty of South Korea, the four seasons, traditional and modern marriages, clothes and food. 

Speaking about the current circumstances in the Middle East, she said change should be initiated from within, by the people themselves. 

In South Korea, people rose up and brought about the change by themselves, noted Lee, who has been living in Jordan for more than 20 years and has four books published in Korean about Jordan.

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