Twelve taekwondo practitioners from 12 countries, among them Nepal, Laos, Nicaragua, Mexico, Myanmar and Kenya, are taking part in the 2017 Cultural Partnership Initiative. Here they pose for a commemorative photo at Korea House in Seoul on July 14.

By Xu Aiying and Sohn JiAe

This year’s Cultural Partnership Initiative (CPI), a cross-cultural project carried out by the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism since 2005, kicked off on July 14.

A total of 77 individuals from 38 countries covering Southeast Asia, Central Asia, the Middle East, Africa and Latin America, and all of whom are involved in cultural heritage and preservation, the arts and sports, are participating in this year’s project. For the first time this year there are participants from Armenia, the Ivory Coast, Nicaragua, Lebanon and Zimbabwe.

During their five-month stay in Korea, the participants will take part in hands-on programs offered at 10 non-profit organizations and at five organizations affiliated with the culture ministry: the National Folk Museum of Korea, the National Library of Korea, the National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art, the National Museum of Korean Contemporary History and the Korea National University of Arts. They will learn about traditional and modern Korean dance, traditional gugak music, the traditional talchum mask dance, taekwondo and traditional Korean wrestling, known as ssireum.

The group will also tour some of the venues that will host next year’s PyeongChang 2018 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games across Gangwon-do Province.

The Cultural Partnership Initiative has so far given a total of 1,003 trainees, all across cultural heritage, the arts, tourism and sports, from 98 countries to take part in a five-month program in Korea, experiencing in-person a variety of aspects of Korean traditions, arts, sport and tourism.