November 11, 2015: The following is an address delivered by the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Community Development, Culture and the Arts, Mrs. Vidiah Ramkhelawan on behalf of the Minister of Community Development, Culture and the Arts, Dr. the Honourable Nyan Gadsby-Dolly at the Korean K-Wind Soul Beat Concert hosted by the Embassy of the Republic of Korea. The event took place at the Southern Academy for the Performing Arts.
It is an honour to be with you this evening to celebrate thirty years of diplomatic relations between Trinidad and Tobago and the Republic of Korea. I must thank His Excellency, Doo-young Lee, Ambassador of the Republic of Korea to the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago, for spearheading this initiative of cultural expression.
FLOURISHING DIPLOMATIC RELATIONSHIP
Since the establishment of diplomatic relations in 1985, the friendship between the Trinidad and Tobago and the Republic of Korea has thrived. Despite different geographical size, political and economic systems, our relationship has firm foundations.
This alliance continues to be a positive one for Trinidad and Tobago. The Republic of Korea has emerged as an important economy in the Asia Pacific region. Its economy ranks as the 12th largest in the world - with GDP of over 1.3 trillion US dollars and it is a powerhouse for global brands such as Samsung, Hyundai-Kia and LG.
The country is also recognized for its strong Confucian ethics, which permeate business and family life. This belief system is demonstrated through attributes of loyalty, sincerity, honour, filial piety or respect for the aged.
It was renowned Greek philosopher Plato, who stated that “music gives soul to the universe, wings to the mind, flight to the imagination, and charm and gaiety to life and to everything”.
It is for this reason that the government has collaborated with the Embassy of the Republic of on Korea numerous occasions. Both entities place a high value on the impact of culture and the arts on the quality of life of its citizens.
Earlier this year, the Ministry endorsed the Korean Film Festival where members of the public had the opportunity to look through cinematic lens at the films “Secret Sunshine, The Granny, Masquerade, and The Attorney”.
In addition, last year the Ministry co-hosted the Korean Opera “pansori” with the Korean Embassy. UNESCO has proclaimed this traditional Korean art form a Masterpiece of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity.
These culturally enriching events have enhanced our perspectives provided opportunities for our citizens to obtain a better understanding of Korea.
Therefore, we at the Ministry are thrilled about tonight’s collaboration between the “TNT Mega Crew” and the Korean acrobatic B-boy dance team. What we are about to witness is a true demonstration of diplomacy through the arts. On one end of the spectrum is the TNT Mega Crew dance team which has received many accolades while representing Trinidad and Tobago internationally. On the other, we have the famous Korean dance group which combines both modern and traditional performance techniques. I anticipate that is will be a performance par excellence.
These intercultural interactions also have the potential to create powerful networks and build new links among artistes in the cultural sector. The establishment of a personal relationship with artistes from other countries is best accomplished through joint projects. This is just the first step that local cultural practitioners may take to gain access to performance opportunities and the channels of distribution in international markets. I would not be surprised to hear, in the near future, that the TNT Mega Crew has be invited to display their talent in Korea.
Every day artistes and event producers make cultural exchanges happen. Whether through the state for international relations or private sector support of an entertainment business initiative, its effect is generally eye-opening and long-lasting.
In this regard, I look forward to future cross-cultural exchanges between our two countries as they have always served to further the development of the Trinidad and Tobago-Korea relations and have widened our definitions of art and creative expressions.
In conclusion, on behalf of the Ministry of Community Development, Culture and the Arts, I would like to convey to the Government and the People of the Republic of Korea, our best wishes for the continued prosperity of your country.
May the relations between the people of Republic of Trinidad and Tobago and the Republic of Korea continue to grow from strength to strength.
I thank you.