(MENAFN - Jordan Times) The upcoming Korean Film Festival, which will be held in October, will be the culmination of several events held this year to mark the 50th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between Jordan and South Korea.
The festival, scheduled to be held on October 22-24 at Al Hussein Cultural Centre, is the last of a series of cultural and philanthropic activities organised across the Kingdom in celebration of the milestone anniversary, which included a performance of the Korean musical comedy "Cookin' Nanta" earlier this month at the University of Jordan's Al Hassan Bin Talal Theatre.
Set in an open kitchen, the back story to the musical Nanta involves three chefs attempting to prepare a wedding banquet within a strict time limit while their manager installs his incompetent nephew among the kitchen staff.
Over the course of the show, the performers recreate the sounds of customary Korean percussion known as "Samullori" using pots, pans, knives, chopping boards, dishes and all sorts of everyday kitchen utensils as their instruments.
The term "Nanta" literally means random drum-beats in Korean, and figuratively refers to reckless punching as in a boxing match. The nonverbal musical performance is action-packed, involving acrobatics, magic tricks, comedy, pantomime and audience participation.
Since its debut in October 1997, the "Nanta" has drawn the largest audiences in the history of the performing arts in Korea, according to event organisers. Winning international acclaim as "best performance" at the 1999 Edinburgh Festival Fringe, "Nanta" also became the first Asian musical to open off Broadway in 2004, they added.
The musical was followed by the Korean Cup Golf Tournament, in which Korean Ambassador Shin Hyun-suk took second place to 14-year-old Gunho Park, the tournament's first prize winner.
The proceeds of the event went to Mabarrat Um Al Hussein, a home for orphaned and underprivileged boys established by the late Queen Zein Al Sharaf in 1951.
The "Beautiful Harmony Concert for Love and Peace" was also held in honour of the 50th anniversary in April at the Columbia University Middle East Research Centre. The concert was hosted by the Beautiful Mind Charity, an international philanthropic organisation that pursues diplomacy with the stated aim of "giving and sharing love with the less privileged around the world through diverse cultural activities", according to organisers.
Diplomatic relations between the two countries were established in July 1962, while the South Korean embassy opened in Amman in 1975, and the Jordanian embassy in Seoul in 2010.
South Korea is one of the Kingdom's major donors, providing various types of technical and financial assistance over the decades, including soft loans totalling 119.4 million to finance water sector projects, according to the Ministry of Planning and International Cooperation.
In a recent interview with The Jordan Times, Shin confirmed that the two countries had built closer contacts at all levels and deepened mutual understanding and trust over the five decades since establishing ties.
About 600 Koreans currently reside in Jordan, which is now South Korea's number one trade partner in the Middle East, the ambassador added. Discussing the commonalities between the two states, Shin pointed to a shared history of imperial and "colonial victimisation".
Following the Korean War that devastated South Korea, assistance from the international community was key in rebuilding his country, according to Shin. "Advanced countries like the US and European countries, as well as international institutions like the World Bank and the UN, helped us make an economic plan and invested in Korea."
"Since joining the OECD [Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development] in 1996, and becoming a member of the UN, we feel that it is our turn to return the favour done to us by the international community to the outside world," Shin continued.
"That is why almost every Korean feels it is a duty to return the favour to the developing world, and why we are increasing our ODA [official development assistance]." "Koreans are a peace-loving people; we want to coexist with other peoples peacefully and help them develop their own countries following the Korean model," added the envoy.
"That is the very sincere and unselfish motive."