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CICI announces annual award winners

Dec 21,2019
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From left, SK Telecom’s CEO and President Park Jung-ho, Billboard’s columnist Jeff Benjamin and Jazz vocalist Nah Youn-sun will be awarded for promotion of Korean culture abroad by Corea Image Communication Institute in January 2020. [Corea Image Communication Institute]
The Corea Image Communication Institute (CICI) announced on Thursday that SK Telecom, K-pop writer Jeff Benjamin and jazz vocalist Nah Youn-sun are the winners of its annual awards for those who promote Korean culture abroad.

“This year’s recipients are SK Telecom, for commercializing 5G network for the first time in the world, Billboard’s K-pop writer Jeff Benjamin for bridging Korean artists to the world and jazz vocalist Nah Youn-sun, for creating an international sensation as a Korean artist,” the organization said in its statement. “They will be awarded at a ceremony at the InterContinental Seoul COEX Hotel in Samseong-dong [southern Seoul] on Jan. 14, 2020.”

CICI is an organization affiliated with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs that promotes Korean culture abroad and provides research on changes in the international image of Korea. It was established in 2003.

It recognizes individuals, corporations or objects that have raised awareness of Korean culture globally.

Its awards include the Korea Image Stepping Stone Award, which is presented to those who have improved Korea’s image abroad; the Korea Image Stepping Stone Bridge Award, which is presented to those who have bridged the peoples of Korea and abroad through cultural activities; and the Korea Image Fire Stone Award, which is presented to those who have created a positive sensation and attracted international interest in Korean culture.

“SK Telecom’s President and CEO Park Jung-ho will be awarded the Korea Image Stepping Stone Award for commercializing the 5G network for the first time in the world and energizing the Korean ICT market,” the organization said in its statement.

“The Korea Image Stepping Stone Bridge Award goes to columnist Jeff Benjamin,” it said, “for having introduced K-pop artists to the world through his steady work since 2013. We would like to recognize his top-notch work in contributing to the K-pop Wave throughout the world and bridging nations to Korea.”

Jazz vocalist Nah will receive the Korea Image Fire Stone Award.

“She represents Korea as a jazz vocalist and is renowned in Europe,” CICI said. “She has dazzled audiences throughout the world with her performances, which incorporates Korean characteristics.”

Nah was awarded the Korea Image Flowerstone Award by CICI in 2014 as well.

Previous awardees of CICI include YouTubers Josh Carrott and Ollie Kendal, World Golf Hall of Famer Pak Se-ri, the Incheon International Airport, the Samsung Galaxy smartphone, AlphaGo, hangul, panelists on the JTBC show “Non-Summit” (2014), pianist Cho Seong-jin and Olympic short track champion Shim Suk-hee.

The annual awards ceremony, held since 2005, is expected to gather around 600 individuals including corporate executives, media representatives, experts and ambassadors. The ceremony is supported by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism.

BY ESTHER CHUNG [chung.juhee@joongang.co.kr]