Prof. Kim Hong-Nam Gets Highest French Order
"Chevalier de l'Ordre de la Legion d'Honneur”
By Michelle Nam
Ms. Kim Hong-Nam, former director of the National Museum of Korea, received the highest order of the French government, "Chevalier de l'Ordre de la Legion d'Honneur," on Nov. 14, 2008.On behalf of the French government, French Ambassador to Seoul, Philippe Thiebaud conferred the order upon her at an evening ceremony held at the French envoy's residence in Hap-dong, Seodaemun-gu, Seoul.According to the French Embassy's spokesperson, Ms. Kim was chosen for her contributions to the preservation of Korean cultural relics, the development of cultural policies, and in particular, for strengthening bilateral cultural ties between Seoul and Paris.The spokesperson went on to explain that Ms. Kim, as director of the National Museum of Korea, also played a very important role in hosting an exhibition of the late French woodprint artist Paul Jacoulet (1902-1960), two years ago.In addition, Ms. Kim was highly instrumental in hosting the grand exhibition, LOUVRE, in Seoul two years ago. Held in celebration of the 120th anniversary of the establishment of French-Korean diplomatic relations, as many as 80 French masterpieces were exhibited.Currently, the 60-year-old Kim serves as art history professor at Ewha Womans University in Seoul. She has also held the position of Vice Minister of Culture, Sports and Tourism.Among the scores of high-profile guests were Ms. Hong Ra-Hee, wife of former Chairman Lee Kun-Hee of the Samsung Business Group, and Mr. Yu In-Chon, minister of culture, sports, and tourism.To date, over 30 South Koreans have been bestowed with the "Chevalier de l'Ordre de la Legion d'Honneur."They include former Chairman Lee Kun-Hee of the Samsung Business Group, the internationally-renowned music conductor Maestro Jung Myung-Hoon, film director Lee Chang-Dong, and senior film director Lim Kwon-Taek.What is the "Chevalier de l'Ordre de la Legion d'Honneur?"The "Chevalier de l'Ordre de la Legion d'Honneur" or "Ordre national de la Legion d'honneur" (trans. "National Order of the Legion of Honour") is a French order established by Napoleon Bonaparte, First Consul of the First Republic, on May 19, 1802.This world-renowned Order is the highest decoration in France and is divided into five degrees: Chevalier (Knight), Officier (Officer), Commandeur (Commander), Grand Officier (Grand Officer) and Grand-Croix (Grand Cross).The order's motto is Honneur et Patrie (Honour and Fatherland), and its seat is the Palais de la Legion d'Honneur on the left bank of the River Seine in Paris.Who Is Kim Hong-Nam?
|French Ambassador to Seoul Philippe Thiebaud (2nd from right) makes a toast with Mr. Yu In-Chon (his right), minister of culture, sports and tourism; Mrs. Hong Ra-Hee (left), wife of former Chairman Lee Kun-Hee of the Samsung Business Group; and Ms. Kim Hong-Nam, former director of the National Museum of Korea at the French envoy's residence in Seoul on Nov. 14, 2008.|
Photo by Michelle Nam, staff reporter
Kim Hong-nam was born in Jinju, South Korea on 23 January 1948. While she was still young, her family moved to Busan. Later she was schooled in Seoul, at the Ewha Girls' High School. She studied at Seoul National University (B.A. in Aesthetics) before becoming the first Korean to get a PhD in art history, from Yale University. Ms. Kim's focus was on Chinese painting, her dissertation being The History of Chinese Painting in the 17th Century. In 1980, she was Research Fellow in Asian Art at the Smithsonian Institution. After holding the same position at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City the following year, she joined the Maryland Institute College of Art, where she served as an assistant professor from 1982 through 1988. In 1991, she was appointed professor of Art History at South Korea's prestigious Ewha Women's University.In 1995 she began a five-year tenure as Director of the Ewha Women's University Museum. In 2003 she was selected as Director of the National Folk Museum of Korea, a position she held until be selected in August 2006 to head the nation's premiere museum. One of her foci is to increase the number of foreign visitors, which dropped radically with the museum's move to its new facilities.For details or inquiries please contact the French Embassy in Seoul at 02-3149 4321 or 3149 4333.
|Prof. Kim Hong-Nam, former director of National Museum of Korea|
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Ms. Michelle Nam (Nam Yeon-Hee) serves as staff reporter of The Seoul Times. She majored in nutritional science at Sookmyung Women's University in Seoul. She covers fashion industry and other cultural affaires as well as diplomatic community. Her hobbies include playing the piano, reading, and travelling.