The Culture Ministry launched Tuesday an office charged with promoting Korea overseas, taking over the duties of the affiliated agency for the last 53 years.
The International Cultural Affairs and Public Relations Office will report to the first vice minister, and the two bureaus under the office will each be responsible for cultural affairs and public relations on the international stage.
“Interagency efforts and coordinating policy on culture, sports and tourism are important to expanding our cultural presence globally,” Culture Minister Yu In-chon said in a statement. “We will swiftly reinforce such coordination and deliver on policies aimed at making the county a cultural powerhouse.”
Details revealed in Tuesday’s announcement included ramping up exchanges with museums and cultural institutes around the world. The new office will lead efforts to monitor and build on an international conversation involving Korea, a step that will take advantage of artificial intelligence, according to the statement.
The decision to shut down the Korean Culture and Information Service as an overseas public relations agency was announced last month when Yu openly floated bringing the promotion arm into the Culture Ministry as he vowed to strengthen overseeing efforts to broaden the country’s cultural reach and heighten its impact.
Established in 1971, KOCIS has operated 35 cultural centers and 7 cultural promotion centers in 34 countries around the world, as well as the Korea.net website, which introduces Korea-related information in 10 languages.
Skeptics of the agency had debated whether it had the power or initiative to take on the challenge of organizing global campaigns to boost understanding about Korea. Yu has said he will create a cultural foothold matching Korea’s status globally.