Some 1,500 artists and staff members from 54 countries will participate in the third Delphic Games to show off their cultural and artistic diversities in Jeju City Sept. 9-15.
Jeju City was selected as the host city of the third Delphic Games on March 31, 2006, at the IDC General Meeting in Johannesburg, South Africa.
For about 1,000 years from the 6th century BC to AD 394, the Delphic Games was a festival of culture and arts among ancient city nations of Greece.
The Games were reborn after 1,600 years as an international festival of arts and culture thanks to J. Christian B. Kirsch of Germany, who felt the necessity of a global celebration of culture and thus initiated the modern Delphic Games.
During the 3rd Delphic Games 2009 in Jeju, 460 participants will compete in 18 categories in six art fields - music and acoustics arts, performing arts, crafts, design & visual arts, lingual arts, communication and social arts, and architecture and ecological arts, according to Lee Jong-duck, chairperson of the Organizing Committee of the 3rd Delphic Games 2009 in Jeju.
In addition, 240 guests from 23 countries and 800 staff members and artists are expected to take part in a variety of festival programs, Lee said.
Meanwhile, Lee Jong-duck, president of the Seongnam Arts Center, said a variety of festival programs, including a shamanism festival, will be held in Jeju during the Delphic Games period. Venues in the beautiful island of Jeju will include Halla-dom, Shinsan Park and Jeju Culture & Arts Center.
The event is expected to create art exchange networks among various international arts organizations and participating nations, said Lee.
He said the Jeju Delphic Games will widely embrace the sprit and goal of modern Delphi and serve as an opportunity to promote the cultural characteristics of the host nation. The Jeju event will add two more competition categories - communication and social arts, and architecture and ecological arts.
The following are excerpts from the interview with Lee Jong-duck, chairperson of the Organizing Committee of the 3rd Delphic Games 2009 in Jeju.
Q: Many people still do not know well about the Delphic Games. Would you introduce the international event and explain the origin of the Games
A: The Delphic Games were named after Delphi in Greece, where the Temple of Apollo stands. While the Olympic Games presented sports contests as a platform for military drills, the Delphic Games dedicated a cultural festival to Apollo, the god of the sun, and featured various musical instruments.
The Delphic movement of the modern era was initiated by Kirsch, who promoted the importance of global cultural understanding, the strengthening of identity and proposed artistic competition as an education element to facilitate international understanding. Boosted by his initiative, representatives of 18 nations founded the International Delphic Council (IDC) in Berlin, Germany in 1994. With the IDC launch in 1994, the first Delphic Games were held in December 2000 in Moscow, Russia with participation from 27 countries. It was followed by the 2nd Delphic Games held in September 2005 in Kuching, Malaysia, with participation from 21 countries.
Q: Water from the Castalian Spring at Delphi was brought to Jeju to honor the event on July 25. Would you comment on the meaning of the event
A: The sacred water from the spring was collected on July 25 in a Greek traditional ceremony, attended by the Korean committee members. The spring in a ravine at Delphi is the place where all visitors to Delphi stopped to wash their hair and where Roman poets came to receive poetic inspiration.
The organizing committee will combine the sacred water with the island's water from Mt. Halla and exhibit it during the event. It indicates the Delphic spirit that there is no superior position in culture and arts and each country's culture should be respected.
Q: Would you comment on conditions and procedures for the selection of the site for the Delphic Games and the background of the selection of Jeju as the host city of the third Delphic Games
A: The first Delphic Games were held in Moscow, Russia in 2000 and the second Games were held in Kuching, Malaysia in 2005 under the subject of "revival of a traditional culture facing crisis." The Korean Delphic Council was created in December 2005. And Jeju City was decided on as the host city of the 3rd Delphic Games on March 31, 2006, at the IDC General Meeting in Johannesburg, South Africa. Jeju was selected because the organizing committee recognized the island as one of the most competitive culture and tourism spots in the world.
Q: What do you expect from Korea's hosting of the third Delphic Games
A: First of all, the level of Korea's culture and arts is expected to go up further. During the Delphic Games period, the world's various indigenous cultures will be introduced to Korean people, including artists, contributing to enhancing their insight on culture & arts.
In particular, all performances during the Games period will be offered to participants free of charge, providing the general public with good chances to enjoy high-level cultural performances and understand diversity of culture.
Delphic Games will also offer Jeju Island and South Korea a good chance to emerge as one of the culture and arts superpowers in the world. If Korea successfully hosts the third Delphic Games, the nation's status of culture and arts in global society will be enhanced further. At the same time, the success, if achieved, will help Korea attract other many international events down the road.
Q: Do you have any plan to herald the third Delphic Games to people
A: To attract people's interest in the Jeju Games, we selected Go Doo-shim, a famous actress and entertainer coming from Jeju Island, as a Delphic ambassador in July.
At the same time, we held a grand festival praying for Jeju's successful hosting of the Delphic Games at the Jeju horse race park on Aug. 15 with attendance of a large number of singers and entertainers.