The National Association of Korean Schools (NAKS) held the 35th general meeting and symposium at the Atlanta Marriott Marquis on August 10th through 12th, with much fanfare.
By Anna Kim
Would it be possible for you to explore all things Korean in one place? You should have visited the NAKS’s mega event, which was held in the second week of August, at the Atlanta Marriott Marquis Hotel.
This three day-long event drew in 1,000 Korean educators and leading figures across the U.S.A. and South Korea. There was a splendid Korean vibe encompassing K-Arts, K-Classic, K-Fashion, K-Pop, K-Food, and Korean language.
The time-honored Korean culture performance was prepared by The NAKS-Atlanta Chapter through its annual general meeting and symposium. The NAKS is composed of 13 individual chapters which host this large-scale event once every 13 years. This year, Atlanta was the venue for the annual occasion with the theme of “Korean Language Education, Dreaming and Moving Forward Together.”
Moon Jae In, South Korea’s President, delivered congratulatory remarks to the attendees during the opening day. It was read by Seong-jin Kim, Consul General of the Republic of Korea in Atlanta.
“We believe the time-honored Korean beauty could be the most popular globally. We will support Korean schools and events so that young adults who are of Korean descent grow global leaders with ethnic identity,” said President Moon.
While the event ran seamlessly, Seung Hoon Lee, Mayor of Cheongju, Korea, appreciably engaged the attendees to promote Jikji, which is the world’s first movable type printing press.
Did you think that Gutenberg invented the movable type printing press at the very beginning? Think again. Before he was born, Koreans were already printing with metal movable type in the 1200s based on historical records. The oldest book printed with movable type which still exists is the Jikji, an abbreviated title, aka “Anthology of Great Buddhist Priests’ Seon Teachings.” Now the actual copy of the Jikji is in France. Mayor Lee showed and gave out a couple of copies (very similar to the original) of the Jikji to the attendees.
He stressed the importance of the Jikji as a legacy.
“We are honored with the world’s first book printed with metal movable type, Jikji, and the impact that the printed word has had on the world ever since,” said Mr. Lee. “This amazing top notch technology, for that time, was created in the City of Cheongju, Korea, in 1377, and 78 years before Gutenberg’s famous bible had been printed in Germany. UNESCO’s Executive Board approved the establishment of the UNESCO/Jikji Memory of the World Prize in April 2004.”
The event culminated in the keynote speech by Jason Park, who is running for Superior Court Judge of Gwinnett County.
“The era of Korean proficiency as a weighty competence in the society has come. Residing in the States doesn’t mean that you have been automatically Americanized. The reason why I have not forgotten Korean since 11 age is that I wanted to cultivate myself with Korean,” said Mr. Park. “We, the Korean Americans, cannot be a real owner of this land until we perceive that we are both Koreans and Americans at the same time, dismissing the thought that we are just foreigners here.”
The NAKS harnesses the event as a spring board to jump up and continues to commit itself to nurturing and educating Korean Americans in the U.S.A.
“The NAKS is pleased to offer you the experience of Korea while interacting with many Korean language school teachers. Please continue your experience and connect to Korea by attending activities of Korean language schools in your area,” said Seung Min Lee, President of NAKS. “When it comes to experiencing Korea, NAKS and its member schools are here to give you a unique opportunity. Welcome, all of you!”
People are exploring Jikji, the world’s first movable type printing press.
A Korean tradition flute performance.
Jason Park, who is running for Superior Court Judge of Gwinnett County, makes a speech.