The following article and pictures were provided by the Embassy of India in Seoul to The Korea Post media for publication, which own and operate 3 English and 2 Korean-language news media since 1985.—Ed
Indian Cultural Centre and Embassy of India, Seoul organised Online 71st Foundation Day Celebrations of Indian Council of Cultural Relations, New Delhi on 9th April 2021.
ICCR which was established on 9th April 1950 was founded by Maulana Abul Kalam Azad, who was one of the foremost leaders of the Indian freedom struggle, a great scholar and poet, who later was appointed as the first Education Minister of independent India.
In the past seven decades of its existence, ICCR has been furthering its objective of actively participating in the formulation and implementation of policies and programmes pertaining to India’s external cultural relations. Enhancing India’s soft power overseas through strengthening cultural relations and promoting mutual understanding, ICCR envisages to boost cultural exchanges and people to people relationship between India and other countries.
ICCR through its Indian Cultural Centres, conducts a wide range of cultural, academic and intellectual activities in the field of Indian culture including Indian dance, music, yoga, languages, cuisines, numerous festivals, ethos and traditions along with contemporary issues.
H. E. Sripriya Ranganathan, Ambassador of India to Republic of Korea gave the welcome remarks and highlighted upon the role of ICCR in promotion of Cultural Diplomacy and India’s Soft Power. “During the last seven decades, the functioning of ICCR as an institution has acquired newer dimensions towards promotion of India’s cultural heritage and has emerged as the ‘soft power’ arm of the Ministry of External Affairs through an array of well-designed and targeted programmes. Over the years, ICCR has extensively deployed its resources in a sustainable manner to propagate an image of India that augments our natural historical appeal, boosting cultural diplomacy and foreign policy” said Ambassador Ranganathan.
Dr. Vinay Sahasrabuddhe, President, ICCR in his congratulatory remarks outlined the activities and new initiatives taken by this prestigious institution in the last few years. ”During the last over 6 years, ICCR has received a new thrust in harnessing the optimum Soft Power potential under the guidance of Hon’ble Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi ji who has shown keen interest to build onto India’s ‘soft’ power strengths” said Dr. Sahasrabuddhe.
Two distinguished Indologists, Prof. Geo Lyong Lee and Prof. Lim Geun Dong, both renouned scholars and recipient of prestigious ICCR awards in the fields of Indology and Sanskrit respectively for their extraordinary contributions in promoting Indian philosophy, language and culture were also present. They gave a Special Address on Indian Philosophy and Indian Scriptures as a form of India’s Soft Power and Cultural Diplomacy and above all means to promote people to people ties between the two countries of India and Republic of Korea.
During the ceremony, ICCR Scholars, Alumni and students of Indian Cultural Centre shared their experience. A dance recital by the teacher and students of Cultural Centre was also presented during the event.
The Session was moderated by Dr. Sonu Trivedi, Director of the Indian Cultural Centre, Embassy of India, Seoul. “As ICCR enters into 71st year of its foundation, we promise to keep up with its mission of preserving and promoting the rich cultural heritage of India. At this time, when the whole world is experiencing an unprecedented crisis because of the spread of COVID-19 virus, social distancing and lockdowns world over, the Cultural Centre has initiated online activities in its endeavour to keep in touch with the students and Indian cultural enthusiasts in Republic of Korea. ”, said Dr. Sonu Trivedi.