RIYADH: Fifty-one people took part in the first Ambassador’s Cup Korean Speech Competition, which was held at the official residence of South Korean Ambassador to Saudi Arabia Jo Byung-wook. The aim of the contest, which was organized by the Korean Embassy, was to promote the country’s culture, language and heritage.
In his opening remarks at the event on Saturday, the ambassador said that “the growing interest in learning the Korean language in Saudi Arabia shows how strong and deep are our bilateral relations. The strong friendship between two business communities and co-operation between our two governments has become the hallmark in recent years.”
Jo said that “Korean is the 20th most-spoken language in the world” and that the “Korean language is gaining popularity as a second foreign language in Northeast and Southeast Asia, the United States and even in the Middle East.”
He noted with satisfaction that “studying Korean has recently been emerging as a trend among young Saudis.” He added that more than 1,000 young people from the Kingdom have visited Korea to study or undertake technical or vocational training in the past five years.
The contest began with the 51 competitors, including a number of Saudis, giving an audition. Then 12 finalists delivered speeches in fluent Korean on the subject of “why I love Korea” or “my personal experience of Korea.”
The winner of the Ambassador’s Cup was Shahad Alomaireeni, who spoke about her visit to Korea. In addition to the trophy, she also received a Samsung Galaxy Note 9 smartphone. The other finalists also received prizes, including Samsung smartphones, Etude House Korean cosmetics and traditional Korean vessels. After the competition, 200 guests were treated to a Korean buffet.
Following on from the huge success of the Korea-Arab Friendship Caravan event on Oct. 14 at King Fahd Cultural Center in Riyadh, the Korean Embassy is continuing to organize cultural exchanges between Saudi Arabia and Korea. Further Korean events are planned in Saudi Arabia in the near future.