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Miss USA named K-Culture supporter

September 29, 2015
resident Park Geun-hye and U.S. citizens appointed as "K-Culture supporters" listen to explanations about Korean chinaware at the Korean Cultural Service in New York, Tuesday. (Joint press corps)

President Park Geun-hye and U.S. citizens appointed as “K-Culture supporters” listen to explanations about Korean chinaware at the Korean Cultural Service in New York, Tuesday. (Joint press corps)

Miss Universe contestant Nia Sanchez, of the USA, walks along the pool during the Yamamay swimsuit runway show, Wednesday, Jan. 14, 2015, in Doral, Fla. The Miss Universe pageant will be held Jan. 25 in Miami. (AP Photo/Lynne Sladky)

Miss Universe contestant Nia Sanchez, of the USA, walks along the pool during the Yamamay swimsuit runway show, Wednesday, Jan. 14, 2015, in Doral, Fla. (AP Photo/Lynne Sladky)

By Kang Seung-woo

Nia Sanchez, Miss USA 2014, and 15 other U.S. citizens have been appointed as “K-Culture supporters” to help promote Korean culture across the United States.

President Park Geun-hye attended a campaign launch held at the Korean Cultural Service New York, Tuesday, to encourage their activities before wrapping up her four-day trip to the U.S.

It was the first time an incumbent president has visited a cultural center overseas since 1979, when the nation opened the first one in Tokyo, Japan.

Across the world, there are 28 Korean cultural centers in 24 nations and the government plans to open another in the United Arab Emirates in December.

Nia Sanchez (Yonhap)

Nia Sanchez, 25, shows off a high kick posture after being named a global taekwondo ambassador by the Seoul-based World Taekwondo Federation (WTF) on July 27, 2015. (Yonhap)

Park expressed high hopes for the team.

“I hope that all of you will help deepen mutual understanding between the two nations,” Park said.

The government regards the culture industry as a future growth engine due to the growing popularity of the nation’s popular culture exports, including soap operas and music, in China, Japan and other Asian countries in recent years.

The last Wednesday of every month has been designated as “Culture Day” in January 2014 in order to help foster more involvement in culture and the arts.

The supporters are comprised of 16 Americans, some of whom have high-profile careers.

Nia Sanchez holds a fourth-degree black belt in taekwondo and also serves as an honorary ambassador of the World Taekwondo Federation.

Seth Andrew is a senior adviser to the chief technology officer at the White House.

He founded Democracy Prep Public Schools, a college preparatory school in New York, after being inspired by Korean education while he taught English at a middle school here, according to Cheong Wa Dae.

Edgar Vaudeville has a special bond with President Park because he is a grandson of Jean and Elisabeth Vaudeville, the French couple who accommodated Park in Grenoble in 1974 when she was studying there.

After the ceremony, Park toured an exhibition on Korean culture, which included traditional Korean clothes, or “hanbok,” and Korean food.

“Starting with the New York center, I hope all cultural centers will promote the nation’s history,” Park said.

The presidential office expects the New York center to play a key role in spreading the nation’s culture, given that the city is a global cultural center.

“The Korean Cultural Service New York will serve as an advanced base for promotion of the Korean culture,” said Kim Sang-ryul, a senior presidential secretary for education and culture.

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