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    Soldiers experience cultural immersion during Buddha’s Birthday parade

    Soldiers experience cultural immersion during Buddha’s Birthday parade

    Photo By Patrick Bray | The U.S. Army Garrison Humphreys Education Center provided an opportunity for 36...... read more read more



    Story by Patrick Bray 

    USAG Humphreys

    CAMP HUMPHREYS, South Korea – The U.S. Army Garrison Humphreys Education Center provided an opportunity for 36 Soldiers, including those from the Better Opportunities for Single Soldiers program, to participate in the Buddha’s Birthday Lotus Lantern Festival in Seoul, May 11.

    The tour was part of a pilot program designed to promote student interest in taking philosophy or culture-related courses offered at the USAG Humphreys Education Center by attending a cultural event.

    “We used the Lotus Lantern Festival as a platform to demonstrate innovative, immersive education methods,” said Clara Sagoe, Army Continuing Education Services officer at USAG Humphreys. “We hope that opportunities like this will increase visibility and appeal to potential students.”

    The Lotus Lantern Festival consisted of a 3.5-kilometer parade from Dongguk University, a Buddhist-affiliated university in Seoul, to the Jogyesa Buddhist Temple. Participants carried pink paper lotus lanterns and flowers.

    The festival is organized by Korea’s Buddhist community and various associations. It has been recognized by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization as an Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity since 2020, although the festival itself dates back more than 1,000 years. According to UNESCO the annual turn out is about 50,000 people.

    Despite heavy rains throughout most of the day most participant feedback from Camp Humphreys was positive, said Sagoe.

    “Everyone had an extraordinary experience,” Sagoe added. “Everything was perfect besides the weather.”

    At the temple, attendees took part in a traditional tea ceremony and calligraphy sessions, added Sagoe. They also joined in discussions about Buddhism, the various types of Buddha statues, and more.

    A demonstration course on Buddhism was conducted by University of Maryland – Global Campus professor Frank Concilus, who teaches Philosophy 348: Religions of the East at the USAG Humphreys Education Center.

    “This pilot program serves as a prime example of the dynamic educational approaches taken by UMGC and Army Continuing Education Services,” said Kristi Soriano-Noceda, regional director of UMGC – Asia. “It displays the unique benefits of ACES and UMGC by offering engaging educational opportunities.”

    Sagoe added that she hopes this pilot program will lead to more tours and opportunities that further illustrate and enhance the attractiveness of assignments in Korea by combining education with cultural immersion.

    “The event seamlessly integrated educational objectives with personal enrichment,” said Sagoe. “We hope to create memories for participants during their tenure in Korea that they will never forget.”

    The BOSS program represents the voice of single servicemembers and is based on three pillars – quality of life, community service, and recreation and leisure. BOSS volunteers coordinate and participate in community services projects, organize recreation and leisure activities, and actively support the quality-of-life needs of single soldiers.

    U.S. Army Garrison Humphreys is the “Army’s Home in Korea” and is located along the western coast of South Korea within the seaport city of Pyeongtaek, approximately 40 miles south of Seoul. Camp Humphreys is the headquarters for the Eighth U.S. Army, the Second Infantry Division, the Army's most active airfield in the Pacific, and the hub of U.S. Forces Korea.



    Date Taken: 05.15.2024
    Date Posted: 05.15.2024 02:05
    Story ID: 471296

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