In a bid to continually improve its ties with Nigeria and promote cultural exchange, the Korean Cultural Centre in Abuja hosted its third annual film festival at the Silverbird Entertainment Centre.

Even as Korean tech giant Samsung turns Sony into a has-been, Japan’s erstwhile colony is also beating it in the pop culture sphere: A decade after journalist Douglas McGray famously calculated “Japan’s Gross National Cool” and awoke the country to the potential of capitalizing on the global infatuation with its anime, games, J-pop, and manga, the concept of “Cool Japan” is under assault.

The recent success of Psy and K-pop groups has boosted talk that Korea has gained the benefits of “soft power” in raising its international stature. But is hallyu, or the Korean wave, the best way to achieve this goal and does Korea want to be identified overseas mainly by its pop culture?

Indiana University has received a grant totaling $1.5 million from the Korea Foundation and three Korean IU alumni to establish the university's first endowed chair in Korean studies.The chair will be based in the new School of Global and International Studies on IU's Bloomington campus and will be the first endowed chair to be established in the school since its recent approval.

Though China is trying to make its language and message be heard across the world to overcome its disadvantageous position in global communications, the exports of its cultural products are far from satisfactory... Market, content and communication channel are the three key factors impeding the exports of China's cultural products.

Helweena Sadorra is a self-acknowledged fanatic of "Hallyu," or the Korean Wave. So when she landed a job at the Korean Cultural Center in Manila, she had high hopes of promoting active exchanges between South Korea and her home country... She laments that culture has become business with big revenues, and that fresh ideas, including her own, will not see the light unless they add to the money flow.

Knock-offs aside, a bigger reason for China’s lack of a “Gangnam style” hit is the pervasive censorship apparatus that keep tight control on print, radio, TV and live music performances. Censorship is even tighter than usual this month, ahead of China’s leadership transition in early November. As Chinese pundits study for lessons about soft power, that’s one theme that they dare not write about.

October 14, 2012

Jazz Diplomacy is powerful because it has no language limitation. Korean speaks Korean and Panamanian speaks Spanish. However that gap is closed through the universal language of music.