- Joined by ambassadors from 12 countries, the forum highlights the importance of critical foreign languages -
Hankuk University of Foreign Studies (HUFS, President Kim In-Chul) stated that the HUFS Center for Critical Foreign Language Education (CFLE, Director Oh Jong-Jin) hosted a forum at Aekyung Hall at 2:00pm (Fri.) on April 30, 2021. The forum invited the ambassadors of 12 critical language-speaking nations (Brazil, Azerbaijan, Oman, Uzbekistan, India, Indonesia, Kazakhstan, Kenya, Thailand, Turkey, Portugal, and Poland), and HUFS CFLE introduced each of the critical foreign languages and sought ways to promote critical foreign language learning within the nation. Held under the title “1st CFL Ambassador Forum“, it highlighted the New Southern and New Northern languages in the first session and the languages of strategically important regions in the second session. The forum holds great potential as a platform for HUFS and critical language-speaking nations to foster both their friendly networks at home and abroad and for various discussions on critical foreign language learning. It will serve as a significant milestone in encouraging critical foreign language learning in Korea and domestic and international cooperative networks.
In his congratulatory remarks, HUFS President Kim In-Chul stressed, “Leveraging our specialized language teaching program for 45 different languages, including critical foreign languages, and our extensive global networks, HUFS aims to educate our students to grow into multidisciplinary talents broadly versed in different languages, the humanities, social sciences, science, and technology.” He went on to say, “Serving as a pivot of this education network built to extend the ground for critical language learning and nurture competent foreign language experts armed with socio-cultural awareness and skills, HUFS is committed to leading cooperation.”
HUFS CFLE Director Oh Jong-Jin stated in his keynote speech, “The goal of our critical foreign language program is to offer a range of specialized learning opportunities to those interested in these CFLs, as well as to produce CFL experts, contributing to strengthening the nation’s competitiveness on the global stage. Joined by the ambassadors of 12 nations, this forum will help us build a cross-border cooperative network with these countries and advance CFL education in Korea.”
With the enactment of the Act on the Promotion of Education of Critical Foreign Languages in 2016, a total of 53 languages beyond the dominant international ones were designated as CFLs. Representing their strategic importance for the development of the nation, CFL designation is made as part of the efforts to meet rising CFL demands in today’s globalized world with businesses exploring foreign markets, people pursuing overseas startup and job opportunities, and international exchange channels becoming more diversified. During the first phase of the state-led CFL promotion initiative (2017-2021), HUFS and other academic institutions have undertaken numerous specialized programs under the sponsorship of the Ministry of Education and the National Institute for International Education for more systematic CFL education support and CFL talent cultivation according to the main objective of the law.
Amid the ongoing COVID-19 crisis, which has necessitated social distancing and subsequent online learning, the education sector has gradually gone online. International exchange and cooperation endeavors initially hit hard by the coronavirus outbreak are gaining new momentum in the digital world free from physical constraints. Aware of this growing importance of digital presence, the 1st CFL Ambassador Forum was held both online and offline in strict compliance with social distancing measures.
The forum was joined online by some 100 HUFS CFL students and others interested in CFL learning. Offering the online audience a Q&A session with the participating ambassadors on their languages and cultures, it served as an excellent opportunity to better understand CFLs and foreign cultures.