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Title [ICM's Pick] Participants' Voice / A Combination of Cultural and Public Diplomacy
- Taleh Bilalov
The 3rd International Youth Martial Arts Camp (IYMAC) invited youth martial artists aged between 15-18 from Brazil, Kazakhstan, Korea, Mongolia, and Turkey. IYMAC included five volunteers to assist in interpretating and supporting youth participants. The below writing was written by Volunteer Taleh Bilalov(Age 27) :
In my personal view the 3rd International Youth Martial Arts Camp (IYMAC) is a combination of cultural and public diplomacy that plays a big role in enlightening young generation's future both domestically and internationally. IYMAC which was held in Chungju from 15 to 21 August 2019, was a great opportunity to make memorable memories and gain more experiences in the field.
On the first day, we departed from Incheon international Airport to Chungju with the Turkish and Kazakhstan guests. I was in charge of the Turkish team. On the way from the airport to Chungju, Turkish students never stopped asking questions about Korea. I was both surprised and fascinated by their curiosity. Even though our bus hadn't arrived to Chungju, I already started to share my knowledge regarding historical and cultural background of Korea with my team.
After a few hours of trip, we finally arrived in Chungju and started camping on the 16th. As I was worried that my team would miss breakfast time, I got up at 6 am every day to wake them up. Consequently, I ended up building a deep connection with the Turkish that they regarded me as their elder brother. I was very proud of them as they followed my instructions very well.
All foreign teams from Brazil, Kazakhstan, Mongolia, and Turkey were very keen to share their traditional martial arts culture with the Korean students. Although at first students who speak different languages were shy to open up, later on they learned how to get along with one another. In this way, in a few days the children hugged and greeted each other as sisters and brothers. Seeing them happy made me happier.
Even if though they couldn’t communicate in a common language, I noticed that body languages including hand gestures could be thought of as a second language that augments and amplifies whatever it is that you are talking about; In some cases, the only way to get audience to really understand what you are talking about or to get them to believe your message, is by performing the proper gesture at the proper time. You probably know the idiom “A picture says a thousand words”. Hand gestures work in the same way.
Through IYMAC, I personally became interested in the Mongolian language because this was my first time hearing Mongolian accent directly from a native speaker. Before IYMAC, I thought most difficult language to pronounce was Chinese or Vietnamese, but when I started to learn greetings and expressions of gratitude in Mongolian, I realized that Mongolian was not a piece of cake either.
The last day was both sad and impressive simultaneously. There were so many unforgettable moments that are engraved in my memory. One of the best memories I could recall is students, who were shy to say a word to each other when IYMAC started, were wrestling and plyaing with each other on the last day. Not only the students, but also the volunteers seemed to have a great time.
During IYMAC, watching foreign students eat, play, and talk with each other made me feel that what we do is meaningful. Especially, on the last day, before the students went to bed, they cried on their farewell. I believe such sincere attitudes are sign of love that connects people. Moreover, the simple act of Turkish, Brazilian, Mongolian, Kazakhstan, and Korean students hugging, crying was unforgettable moments. In fact, it wasn't easy for me to interpret at that time due to a combination of various feelings. The students exchanged their social media addresses and gave each other the country’s flags. I saw the greatest exchange between the national flags that symbolized their country.
There was only one regret at IYMAC that not many female martial arts players attended this precious event. Through these important international events, I think with the help of international activities such martial arts and cultural activities we can overcome gender inequality and discrimination.
The IYMAC has been successfully completed with hope that more women will be present at the next IYMAC. Once again, I would like to thank UNESCO ICM for everything that has been done for all participants during IYMAC.