By; VITALIS UGOH, Calabar
The University of Calabar (UNICAL) and the Republic of Korea, have strengthened its diplomatic ties by resolving to partner on the establishment of a Centre for Korean Studies in the institution.
This was made known in separate addresses delivered by the Vice Chancellor of UNICAL, Prof. Zana Akpagu and His Excellency, the Ambassador of Korea to Nigeria, Prof. Lee, In-Tae, during a Public lecture delivered by the latter on the topic: “Growing the Nigerian Economy through Education: The South Korea Model”, held at the institutions International Conference Centre.
The Korean Ambassador who was the Guest lecturer said the relationship between the institution and Korea has been cordial, a cogent reason, he deemed it fit to leave a lasting legacy by collaborating with the institution to establish a centre for Korean Studies to further strengthen its diplomatic ties and contribute to educational advancement.
Lee, In-Tae who described UNICAL as one of the foremost tertiary institution in Nigeria which has produced notable personalities in the world, stressed that the partnership with the institution would contribute in no small measure in expanding the frontiers of teaching and learning.
He said he was also looking forward to exploring other areas of synergy with the institution, even as he expressed delight with the developmental strides of the current Vice Chancellor, whom, he described as a great achiever.
Speaking on the topic: Growing the Nigerian Economy through Education: The South Korea Model, the Korean Ambassador said education acts as a catalyst for economic and political development of any country hence the need for priority attention to be given to it.
The Korean Ambassador maintained that education also plays important role in political stability, economic growth and progress of any nation.
While using his country as a case in point, he said the economy of Korea was backward in the early 19th century when education was not embraced by its populace, adding that with the advent of western education and mass enrolment of its citizens in schools, the present day South Korea has become one of the leading economies of the world.
In his welcome address, the Vice Chancellor of UNICAL, Prof. Zana Akpagu expressed joy with the visit of the Korean Ambassador, just as he pledged to sustain the relationship between the institution and the Republic of Korea.
The Vice Chancellor said the cordial relationship between the institution and the Republic of Korea was made possible by the institutions rising profile, which he said, has become conspicuous on the world map.
He said his administration is committed to forging collaborations and linkages with the outside world, stating that the Republic of Korea is one of such linkages which the institution is poised to sustain.
Akpagu said the institution is reaping the fruits of these linkages through the establishment of a centre for Korean Studies in the institution.
He also said the centre which would forge a link with the Bassey Andah Institute for Africa and Asian Studies would accord students ample opportunity to learn Korean culture and tradition.
Recalling his last official visit to the Republic of Korea, he said Korean citizens are hospitable people and described his stay as rewarding.
Akpagu said Unical was selected among other Nigerian Universities to represent Nigeria at the Korea week and while we were there, we had a rewarding experience because Koreans are hospitable people. We are looking forward to deepening this relationship.
Also speaking, President of the Cross River State Taekwondo Black Belt College, Dr. Judith Eteng Otu said they are happy to be affiliates of Korea through the practice of Taekwondo where they learn self-defense, humility, modesty, perseverance, self-control and the development of an indomitable spirit.
Highpoint of the occasion was the scintillating and breathtaking Taekwondo displays by the Cross River State Taekwondo Black Belt, and cultural performances by the University of Calabar Performing Company (UCPC).
A memento was also presented to the Korea Ambassador by the Vice Chancellor.