Friday, November 07, 2008

Personal Reflection on 2008 Asian Youth Culture Camp

by Mr. Thet Din
International Intern-Culture and Solidarity Team
The May 18 Memorial Foundation
Date: 2008.11.041- Asian Youth Culture Camp


The Office for Hub City of Asian Culture, Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism, Republic of Korea held the AYCC for the mutual understanding of Asian youth since 2006 together with the Asia Culture Forum as a part of the promotion project of the Hub City of Asia Culture. In the 2006 AYCC, about 80 Asian youth participated in the Camp and discussed such diverse themes as arts and culture, creative industries, immigrants, Asians’ value, etc. In the following 2007 AYCC, under the theme ‘Devices for the Network Framing for the Quest and Exchange of Asian Culture,’ with the participant of over a hundred Asian students including Islamic students, the participants shared various ideas and opinions about the mutual understanding of Asian and Islamic cultures. The two camps proved that Asian youth were open to acknowledging and understanding other cultures and moreover that they wanted a place where such encounters could occur. Therefore, in responding to their needs, the 2008 AYCC is to function as a bridge among Asian youth.

Introduction on 2008 Asian Youth Culture Camp (2008 AYCC)

AYCC this year started from 30 October to 02 November, 2008. Prepared by The Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism; sponsored by United Nations Environment Program National Committee for the Republic of Korea (UNEP); organized by Gwangju International Center (GIC); and hosted in Chonnam National University, Gwangju City, South Korea.

The 2008 AYCC, under the theme “Asia, Culture and Environment,” Provided a period of time for the Asia participants to share and exchange ideas. During the Camp period, the participants were divided into 7 smaller groups to discuss two subordinate themes. “World heritage in Asia Damaged by Climate Change” and “The Culture and Environment of Gwangju, Hub City for Asian Culture.” The participants were to have time for sharing their experiences and knowledge, and for discussing concrete alternatives for better Asian culture and environment. Furthermore, the participants visited the Asian Culture Forum and Hub City of Asian Culture Information Center to have first-hand experience and participate in the Asian Youth Culture Night events. Unlike the previous two camps which focused on lectures and discussions, the 2008 AYCC provided Asian youth participants with a chance for mutual understanding and for the recognition of the importance of culture and environment through such diversified approaches as workshops, cultural events, tour, etc.


The program was joined by 62 participants from Cambodia, China, Denmark, India, Indonesia, South Korea, Malaysia, Nepal, Sri Lanka and Tanzania. They are students and graduate students interested on international cooperation.
2- 2008 AYCC Programs Activities

Day 01- 30 October, 2008

2008 Asia Youth Culture Camp opening ceremony started at 13:10, introduction by Ms. Kim Seol Hyun to all participants and guests about program. Also, four guest speakers gave address coming from Ministry of Culture, Sport and Tourism, Gwangju international Center, United Nationals Environment Programme National Committee for the Republic of Korea and Chonnam National University. After participants were given 30 minutes to prepare group presentation to all audience, each group got 5 minutes for presentation performance.Group Discussion I

This discussion was an intra-group activity. Each group consists of 6 to 11 participants and two AYCC observers as group moderators. Each group allocated a class room with essential multimedia presentation equipments.

Participants have presented about their proposed write-ups to other members with in the groups. Each participant got about 5mins for presentation and 3 minute for Q&A from their team and moderators.

In the case of Group 6, we introduced our self to each other after that we presented on our proposal. Group 6 have six members so 6 proposals were presented. Here are information and questions on each proposals on theme “The Culture and Environment of Gwangju, Hub City of Asian Culture”;

First proposal by Mr. Hong Min Ho on “Culture Blossoms in Gwangju”, he indicated that Gwangju City is a place of rich culture and have a lot of core-competitions to get the project from government. In his presentation he answered the question “Why Gwangju City should be The Hub City of Asian Culture”. Even though he didn’t make a case study or specific point for groups’ discussion but he proposed a lot of tourist attraction places and gave many more suggestions to improve the project.
Second proposal by Ms. Seulgi Kim on “Taste in Gwangju”, focus on food, Gwangju City is the best in Korea, according to general survey. Moreover she explained Gwangju must be the center of the taste in Asia due to many foreigner restaurants and abundant grain, fish, fresh seafood and wild edible greens, especially, a lot of famous chefs.

Third proposal by Ms. Kang Hyung Gon on the same topic, so most of her presentation in general was Gwangju as Hub City in Asia such as purpose of building the ACC, vision and Strategies for the ACC, functional roles of the ACC.
Fourth proposal by Mr. Park Hyeong Kuk on “Gwangju Festival”, he like to show that Gwangju have so many festivals which is one of best thing Gwangju having nowadays to get attention from other areas. But all of those festivals are still not improved as international standard like those festivals in EU.

Fifth proposal by me on “Negative Impact of Asian Culture Complex”, I showed in my proposal the huge benefit of Gwangju Citizens will get after ACC is completed. But it is making a lot of unacceptable reasons from people who were touched by their heart especially if ACC will replace former Provincial Hall which was the main spirit, historic symbol of the May 18 Democratic Uprising.

Sixth proposal by Ms. Park Eun Ji on “A method for Route Improvement Plan of Cultural Tourism Through Eco-friendly Train of Narrow Gauge Railway”. She criticized many bad points of transportation in Gwangju City. Also she wants to improve eco-friendly through her transportation project.

Group Discussion II

This session was also an intra-group activity. However in this session topic(s) have given by AYCC moderators. This session was a free style discussion session. The participants were expected to actively discuss in-depth, about the topic by stating facts, opinion and suggest. Participants are free to use any means to communicate their thoughts to other team members.
For my group we discussed on our suggested proposals. Mostly we talked more deeply on project explanation due to the first session’s moderators who asked lot of questions so group members didn’t have much time to exchange ideas on each issue.

Group Discussion III

This session is for consolidation and summarizing the ideas that were proposed during the previous discussion session. Each group made PowerPoint for presentation and group discussion report to AYCC.
My group for that day was not able to submit report on time since we needed more time to make sure all our members understand what our team is going to present.
Day 02- 31 October, 2008

Before dinner, all participants had chance to join 2008 Asian Culture Forum which was organized by Korea’s Global TV Arirang and hosted by Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism at Hotel Ramada Plaza Gwangju, Grand Ballroom(4F). The forum theme is looking to the future of the Asian Culture Complex through the European Cultural Cities and Cultural Contents of Asia. Here are the topics in the forum;
• Expectation of activities and plans of the Asian Culture Complex
• APA approach to promoting cultural diversity in Asia.
• Strategies and network establishment plans between culture contents and artists: Focus on the cases of Biennale and Urban regeneration.
• Programme-led ways to build artistic infrastructure: Liverpool Biennial, a case study in urban regeneration.
• Culture as a means of identity and development
• A collaborative project proposal to facilitate cultural exchanges among Asian countries: science films crossing national boundaries to unite humanity.
• Towards enhancing cooperation in the culture sector in Asia.
• Policy Proposal for the Asian Culture Complex and Asian Culture Network Establishment Plans.

Group Presentation

AYCC divided all participants into seven groups. Group 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5 presented on World Heritage Demand by Climate Change. Group 5, 6 and 7 on Gwangju as Hub City of Asian Culture Complex. It was a free-style presentation, each group got 8 minutes for presentation and 5 minutes for question and answer on their result group discussion in session I, II and III.
Day 03- 01 November

Mission Impossible

It was outdoor tour day at Gwangju City on theme “Mission Impossible” after breakfast. All participants were formed into new groups to discuss building friendship among AYCC participants. Each group has 4 Missions to fulfill including the same first mission at Gwangju Biennale then all groups separated due to different mission and have to prove evidence for accomplishing their mission.

Major Mission Tour Areas

- Mudeung Mountain Uije Museum of Art, Jeungsimsa Temple
- Yanglimdong Modern Christian Cultural Site
- Gwangju River Bike Tour, Riverside Sightseeing and Ecology
- Downtown Area Daein Traditional Market, Art Street
- Mangwol Cemetery Understanding of 5.18 Democratic Movement and 5.18 National Cemetery
- Hwangnyong River Josun Period Confucianist Go Bong Ki Dae-seung’s Course and Wolbong Seowon
- Sangmu area 5.18 Liberty Park, experience life in jail, Kim Dae-jung Convention Center
- Korean Poetry Park Soswewon Garden

Closing Ceremony and Asian Youth Culture Night

Each group has 3 minute to make presentation on their Mission Impossible to all participants. After that it was a big time for awarding the winners of 2008 AYCC and music performances.

I am equally happy since my group won The Best Team Award in 2008 AYCC.

3-My Observation on 2008 AYCC


It was such a great chance for me to join this camp. The camp is not only informative of Korean issues but also other countries in Asia.

I feel all participants in this forum are so smart and intelligent.

All of the youth were very active because they are students and graduate students from different universities, so the processing of discussions and the running the program was smooth.

Moreover Asian Culture Forum invited many fantastic speakers from good organizations like Director of Liverpool Biennale (United Kingdom) and Director of National Art Center, Tokyo (Japan).


Just only three nights and four days but have a lot of unforgotten experiences. In the forum I am really satisfied with the group discussion session but some negative points in this camp still have occurred, I feel AYCC focused on selected and the best youth among participants due to observers asked a lot of questions to each member in the group. in my opinion I found out members in our team feel uncomfortable and scared to answer the questions. More over they didn’t feel free to express their ideas on group discussion because the observers look likes they were judges.

Suggestion and Recommendation

I think next year, AYCC should improve facilitation skill to Observers to know how to process the class environment more fun and feel free to talk. Especially give more chance for participants to exchange their ideas on issues.


This Camp is really stupendous. It is not too long or short for me. Also they have a Gwangju tour for participants that enjoy the environment on the theme “Culture and Environment”. We have a lot of time to work with each together and improve our relationship. Addressing as Asians on what we could do to change our environment in the future, also exchange on how we could learn and face culture shock. So I hope next year AYCC will continue this project.

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