'Korea Is Model for Jordan' (and a Jordan university now has a Korean language department)

Harold Schiffman hfsclpp at gmail.com
Tue Jul 29 14:07:46 UTC 2008

'Korea Is Model for Jordan'

Al-Sharif Nasswer Bin Nasser
Jordan's international policy advisor
By Kim Se-jeong
Staff Reporter

What comes to mind when you think of Jordan? If it's oil wells
scattered throughout the country, you could be in for a surprise.
Al-Sharif Nasswer Bin Nasser, international policy advisor at the
Royal Hashemite Court, the office of Jordanian King Abdullah II, said
Jordan is scarce in natural resources like Korea. ``It's a
misperception that many people have because we are in the Middle East.
All our focus is on human resources development like Korea,'' he said
in an interview.

Bin Nasser, who visited Korea last week under the Korea Foundation's
Next Generation Leaders' Program, said the accomplishment of Korea in
half a century is phenomenal. ``Gross domestic product (GDP) of Korea
in the 1950s was similar to that of many Arab countries. Yet, Korea
has managed to look beyond hardships, to come together as a nation to
overcome them, and to create an economic miracle. In this regard, you
are a model for us,'' he said.  Jordan is a Middle Eastern country,
bordering Syria, Iraq, Israel and the Palestinian West Bank and Saudi
Arabia. It is slightly smaller than South Korea and mainly dry, and
efficient water supply is one of the country's top priorities.

Classified as a ``lower middle income country,'' by the World Bank,
Jordan's per capita GDP neared $4,900 in 2007. The service sector
dominates the Jordanian economy. Tourism is a rapidly growing industry
in Jordan, with revenue from tourism accounting for 10-12 percent of
the country's GDP in 2006. He said Jordan also experienced ``hallyu,''
or the Korean wave that has swept the Middle Eastern region.  ``Korean
movies, soap operas and cuisines are very popular in Jordan,'' Nasser

Besides, a Jordan university now has a Korean language department.

With growing interest in Korea, the trip opened his eyes even further,
he said, enabling him to experience the culture and people firsthand,
and to see potential for further growth in the relationship. ``There
are so many similarities between the two cultures. Confucian values
and Islamic values are very important,'' he said.  During his
eight-day stay, Bin Nasser visited the Korea Trade-Investment
Promotion Agency, the Institute of Foreign Affairs and National
Security, Samsung Engineering, Hyundai Heavy Industries shipyards in
Ulsan and the ancient capital city of Gyeongju in North Gyeongsang
Province. ``Someone introduced Gyeongju as a museum without walls. And
it actually was so,'' he said.


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