World peace forum Seven days in magic Korea

A total of 80 journalists from 60 countries have attended the Journalist Forum for World Peace (JFWP), held in Seoul, South Korea from 17- 23 of April 2016. The forum was hosted by the Journalists Association of Korea (JAK) under the theme, “Denuclearization on the Korean Peninsula and the Role of Journalism for World Peace.” The main speakers were from major news outlets in China, Japan, Russia and Sweden.

Many important issues were discussed, mainly focussing on the role of journalism in bringing peace to the Korean peninsula and the world.

Along with the forum, we got an opportunity to visit various historic and cultural sites in Korea. We visited the beautiful Hwaseong Haenggung Palace in Suwon city. We also went to Gyeonggi Center for Creative Economy & Innovation. Then we visited the amazing Samsung Innovation Museum that surprised us with all the progress of Samsung products. Apart from Samsung electronics products, the Samsung Innovation Museum shows many great achievements of various companies in the world. We also had a great chance to visit the offices of Welltural, a small foods and grains business.

Hahoe Mask Dance :
The really astonishing visit was to the Hahoe Village in Andong city, Gyeongsangbuk-do province. The Hahoe Folk Village was established by The Ryu clan from Pungsan in the 16 century during the Joseon Dynasty, and has been a one – clan community since that time. They were preceded by the Huh and Ahn families, who were displaced or dead after the arrival of the Ryu ancestors.
The Village is notable because it has preserved many of its original structures, such as the village Confucian School and other buildings. It maintains folk arts such as the Hahoe Mask Dance Drama, which is a shamanist rite, honoring the communal spirits of the village. The Hahoe folk village is a valuable part of Korean culture because it preserves Joseon-style architecture, folk traditions, valuable books and old traditions of clan-based villages.

The structure of Hahoe Mask Dance drama is composed of four parts: God descending, greeting God, pleasing God and sending God. T’al-nori belongs to the third part. That is, pleasing God is believed to drive away disasters to bring forth blessings for the village people. It was very interesting and all the participants were happy and interactive with the show.
After that, we moved to beautiful Busan and visited the U.N. Memorial Cemetery that was established in December 1955. The cemetery was transferred from the UN to the Commission for the United Nations Memorial Cemetery. It is composed of representatives from the eleven countries whose service members are buried there.

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DMZ and Hidden Tunnel:
Finally, we visited the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) and experienced the reality of Korea first-hand, one of the few divided countries in the world. The DMZ is around 250 kms long, approximately four km wide and, despite its name, the most heavily militarized border in the world. Since demarcation, the DMZ has had numerous cases of incidents and incursions by the North Koreans, although the North Korean government never acknowledges direct responsibility for any of these incidents. South Korea has discovered four tunnels crossing the DMZ that had been dug by North Korea. This was indicated by the orientation of the blasting lines within each tunnel. Upon their discovery, North Korea claimed that the tunnels were for coal mining. However, no coal has been found in the tunnels that are dug through granite. Though some of the tunnel walls have been painted black to give the appearance of anthracite.

Experts believe that the tunnels have been planned as a military invasion route by North Korea. Each shaft was large enough to permit the passage of approximately 30000 soldiers in one hour.
In short, the world peace forum has given me an opportunity to tour South Korea and experience the magical aura of this amazing country.

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