Saudi Arabia has been working to promote a culture of world peace and stability through dialogue to realize the peaceful coexistence of nations, said the deputy minister of foreign affairs for economic and cultural affairs.
Addressing the concluding ceremony of the Saudi-Korea Youth Forum at Hankuk University of Foreign Studies in Seoul, Dr. Yousef Al-Saadoun commended Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah’s interfaith initiative.
Al-Saadoun, who led the Saudi delegation to the forum, said: “The royal initiative led to the formation of King Abdullah Bin Abdulaziz International Centre for Interreligious and Intercultural Dialogue in Vienna to promote dialogue among the followers of different faiths and cultures.”
He said the forum provided a good opportunity for youths from the two countries to exchange their views on various global issues and get to know one another.
He said it would open a new era in Saudi-Korean relations, adding the forum marked 50 years of relations between the two countries.
“I was very happy to see constructive and serious dialogue between Saudi and Korean youths during the last 10 days and it reflects the success of the forum.”
Park Chul, president of Hankuk University of Foreign Studies (HUFS), emphasized the important role played by the forum in strengthening relations between young men and women of the two countries.
He added: “Youth are the future of our two countries.”
Park noted his university’s efforts to establish good relations with other countries, especially the Arab world.
He emphasized HUFS’ plan to pursue interdisciplinary research and convergence among the humanities, business and economics, social sciences, and science and engineering based on education in 45 foreign languages and studies.
He added: “Any university blind to today’s changes is doomed to fall behind.”
Park said last year the number of papers by HUFS professors published in prestigious international academic journals such as SCI, SSCI, and A&HCI nearly tripled.
He added: “There could hardly be a stronger testimony to the high quality of research now coming out of HUFS.
“This is a major milestone toward achieving our quantitative objectives and allows HUFS to shift toward a qualitative paradigm.”
Since its founding in 1954, HUFS has played a significant role in reconstructing Korea after the Korean War by producing numerous CEOs and outstanding diplomats competitive enough to strive forward in the global stage.
HUFS is currently teaching 45 foreign languages, and stands as the number one global university in Korea.
The Saudi and Korean youths wrote two messages, one to the leaders of their countries and the other to UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon.
They presented their proposals to King Abdullah and President Lee Myung-bak to strengthen bilateral cooperation in knowledge-based economy, smart cities and e-education and make joint efforts to find solutions in scientific, educational, technological and economic matters.
Their statement to the UN chief said: “We are future leaders. Today’s youth are looking forward to the progress of knowledge economy, smart cities and electronic education and spread them all over the world.
“We speak one language. Our language is the future.
“We request you to introduce e-education technology in schools and community centers throughout the world, especially in developing countries.”
The Saudi Ministry of Foreign Affairs initiated the program to promote Saudi youth relations with nations around the world.
The Saudi-Korean Youth Forum is the fifth initiative promoting youth diplomacy.
The Saudi youths had earlier visited China, Brazil, Germany and India.
The Saudi delegates included 26 Saudi university students and young professionals from different educational institutions including King Fahd University of Petroleum and Minerals in Dhahran, King Saud University Riyadh, King Abdulaziz University Jeddah, King Faisal School, University of Prince Mohammed bin Fahd and Dar Al-Hekma College.
The concluding ceremony was attended by Saudi Ambassador Ahmed Al-Barrak, who highlighted the strong relations between Saudi Arabia and South Korea.
Al-Barrak said: “The theme of the forum, ‘Knowledge-Based Economy, Smart Cities, Broadband and e-Education’, well reflects the Kingdom’s priority in the development of fast changing high technology as a prerequisite for survival in the 21st century.
“Indeed, the Republic of Korea is among the world’s leaders in these fields, and it’s important to benefit from Korea’s experiences in the field of ICT and the knowledge-based economy.”
Al-Barrak said the value of bilateral trade jumped from $ 4.1 billion in 1991 to $ 31.3 billion in 2010 and to $ 44 billion in 2011.
Saudi Arabia is South Korea’s 4th largest trading partner, he added.
He said: “South Korea was the guest of honor at the 27th Janadriyah Heritage and Culture Festival and its president attended the festival’s opening ceremony.”
The Koreans’ participation in the festival had left positive memories in the minds of Saudis, he added.