Asia Cultural Center Opens in Gwangju

David Lee, Nov. 25, 2015, 9:26 a.m.

Asia's largest cultural center opened in the southwestern city of Gwangju on Wednesday to provide a window into pan-Asian culture. The Asia Culture Center (ACC) held its opening ceremony with the participation of some 700 people, including Prime Minister Hwang Kyo-ahn, Minister of Culture, Sports and Tourism Kim Jong-deok and Moon Jae-in, chairman of the main opposition New Politics Alliance for Democracy (NPAD).

"Gwangju has now become Asia's central city in cultural exchange," Hwang said in a congratulatory speech, thanking relevant government officials for the construction that has taken nearly a decade. The ACC was built on the site of the old provincial government building of South Jeolla Province, a space that symbolizes the May 18, 1980, people's democratic uprising in Gwangju, 329 kilometers south of Seoul.

The prime minister further said that the ACC "will serve as the platform for international cultural exchange."  Moon also congratulated the opening, saying that he is "confident the dream of Honam will come true through change of administration." Honam refers to the name for the southwestern provinces of the country, a traditional stronghold for the opposition party.

The ACC is also hosting a three-day multilateral meeting running until Thursday, which will gather culture ministers from South Korea, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan to discuss ways to enhance cooperation. On Wednesday, the ministers agreed to hold various cultural performances and exhibitions featuring the cultural heritage of Central Asia in the newly built facility, according to Seoul's Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism.

They also agreed to bolster cooperation among culture and arts organizations and promote exchanges of artists in their countries while offering them chances to gather and display their   works on a regular basis. The center also strives to facilitate the creation of cultural content by providing a one-stop solution for artists looking for space to bring their ideas to fruition.

Educational programs will be organized through partnerships with the Netherlands' Rijksakademie and other world-renowned cultural institutions to encourage research into Asian culture. Other things to expect are special lectures inviting esteemed experts, such as French marketing consultant Clotaire Rapaille.

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