HCC and Howard County agree to educational, cultural exchange with Naju City, Republic of Korea
Howard County Government, Howard Community College and Naju City of the Republic of Korea agreed to a cultural and educational exchange during a ceremony held July 12 at the college. The two agreements, one with the county and one with the college, will serve as the framework for these and potentially additional partnerships.
County Executive Allan H. Kittleman, Howard Community College President Kate Hetherington and officials from the Korean city government pledged to build relationships through “mutually beneficial activity, including educational exchanges, cultural exchanges, governmental collaboration and other related activities of mutual interest,” according to one of the memorandums of understanding signed, which is for a two-year period.
“Howard County is home to a large and vibrant Korean-American population,” Kittleman said. “I value this opportunity to create an exchange program with Naju City not only because it makes sense from an educational and economic standpoint, but also because it is consistent with our commitment to celebrating diversity.”
“This exchange with Naju City will provide cultural and educational benefits to Howard Community College,” said Hetherington. “Our international partners bring a rich diversity to our college that benefits students, faculty and other employees. We look forward to welcoming the high school students next summer to help enrich their English skills and share our culture.”
The memorandum signed by Kittleman focuses on exploring business and investment opportunities with Naju City, as well as promoting the potential for cultural exchanges. The memorandum signed by HCC's Hetherington is the foundation for future discussions about the College offering English as a Second Language (ESOL) instruction for students from Naju City in the summer of 2017. Naju City has a similar arrangement with Wenatchee Valley College in Washington State.
Naju City is the hometown of Maryland First Lady Yumi Hogan, who attended the signing. Hogan is the first Korean-American First Lady in the United States and the first Asian-American First Lady in Maryland. She also is a first-generation Korean-American and an accomplished artist.
“In today's interconnected world, it is increasingly important to foster mutual understanding and respect by bridging relationships between different communities around the world,” said Hogan. “I am hopeful that these partnerships will generate educational and cultural opportunities and will strengthen relationships in both regions.”
“We hope this visit will pave the way to continuing friendship between Howard County and Naju City,” said Naju City Mayor In Kyu Kang. “We hope to see more exchanges between Naju City and Howard Community College and Howard County.”Howard County has nearly 47,000 residents of Asian descent, representing roughly 15 percent of the population. Of that, about 12,000 residents are of Korean descent, about 4 percent of the County’s population.