Democracy Prep Public School in Harlem, New York, held its first annual Korean Street Festival in May. The festival presented Korean foods, and aimed to introduce Korean culture to the local community. On the day of the event, students of Democracy Prep performed K-Pop routines and sang Arirang, a Korean traditional song. Besides the student performances, the event offered a Korean calligraphy activity station, and a booth for festival attendees to put on”han bok,” the Korean traditional costume.
Democracy Prep Public School was founded by Seth Andrew, who worked as a foreign English teacher in South Korea. The school adopted a largely Korean-style education system and provides Korean language courses as part of its regular curriculum. In addition to language, other cultural programs, such as traditional Korean percussion, taekwondo and etiquette are all in the curriculum from elementary to high school. Based on the success of the Korean education system since the school’s establishment in 2005, Democracy Prep has gotten a lot of attention and is growing continuously.
Sponsors of the street festival in Harlem included HANSIK Global Association, the Korean franchise café company Caffé Bene, a professor at Sungshin Women’s University in Seoul, Suh Kyung-duk, and actress Lee Young-ae. Their support was given with aim of helping to share the richness of Korean culture with the world.
Jieun Choi is an Asan Academy Intern at the East-West Center in Washington.