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The Cultural Networks of the New Continent

14 Oct, 2019 KDIS News Center 2,714

The Latin-American and Caribbean forum at KDI School.

The America’s is a vast territory full of complexity, nuances, biodiversity, natural resources, but above all, it is famous for having forged a cosmogony and philosophy of life unique to the rest of the world.


Historically, Latin America (Latam) and the Caribbean maintained similar social processes defined by European colonization after the explorations of 15th-century ships. The condition that the America’s were isolated from Afro-Eurasia featured independent historical-cultural processes until the discovery made by Portuguese, French, Dutch, Spanish, and British empires.

The kingdoms claimed their vast territories and later annexed for exploitation. The fusion of cultures between indigenous Native Americans, Africans, and explorers from the old continent caused the coexistence of a great diversity of races, ways of thinking, and traditions today.

In addition, the Latin American prefix comes from the characteristic linguistic-religious root that each country implemented. Latin is a dead language native to the Italian peninsula and was the official language of the Roman Empire, that after Greece, was the forge of Western civilization in Europe and consequently in America.


In Latin America, there are a total of 6 European official languages spoken in 20 countries. The main languages are Spanish, Portuguese, French, and English (which is not considered a Romance but a West Germanic language). Nevertheless, the most spoken tongues at Latam should not be considered languages because they are dialects derived from the Latin Indo-European language.

Spanish is one of the most influential languages in the world and is official in 20 LATAM countries. There are more than 400 million people whose mother tongue is Spanish, thus being the second most spoken language in the world after Chinese. Therefore, in the region, there are more than 900 Amerindian spoken languages.

The Caribbean can be considered a sub-region of North America consisting mainly of 30 political divisions that are islands under British, French, Dutch, and United States influence. However, there are around 700 islands in the Caribbean region, many of them being uninhabited. The power of the Latin culture lies in its worldwide influence.

For instance, Mexican film directors have been recognized for the last consecutive years winning the best Hollywood awards. Universally, in the music scene, it is common to find salsa, cumbia, bachata, or reggaeton playing at night clubs of the most important capitals of the world.


We also need to remark on the great diversity of flavors and exquisite cuisine in Latin America. For example, in 2016, Lima was called the gastronomic capital of Latin America. It is important to point out that there’s a lot more to Mexico than tacos. All over the world, you can find Mexican restaurants that can offer pozole, mole, and enchiladas among other typical dishes. We have to talk about Central American food to which the gastronomic offer extends. For example, El Salvador has pupusas, Nicaragua has nacatamal, but all of us would like to enjoy a homemade baleada from Honduras.

Brazil has the strongest economy in Latin America. With a population of 209.3 million, the country seeks to face the global political and economic challenges of contemporary society. Everyone knows about the successes of its football team who has won more championships than anyone else in the FIFA World Cups (5 in total), the skills of Brazilian players are recognized throughout the world, but there’s a lot more to Brazil than just football.

Ecuador is a country located on the equatorial line that divides the world in half. This country is characterized by the warmth of its people. Quito, its capital, has one of the largest historical centers with colonial architecture in America. In Belize, you’ll have the impression that every day is a carnival with the drums of the African influence on its music, meanwhile, it will always be good to enjoy a night of tango in the Microcentro of Buenos Aires.

Korea maintains excellent commercial and political relations with most Latin American countries. For example, we can find the partnerships MIKTA, OECD, Trans-Pacific Partnership, and the efforts made by the United Nations. The main areas of cooperation are transportation, infrastructure, renewable energy, mining, trade liberalization, and technological assistance.

Unfortunately, this post is not enough to describe how great the region where I was born and the deep love I have for it. Although the region faces significant integration challenges, it is still fighting against a colonial past, stereotypes, social inequality, and lack of optimism in the political context. Nevertheless, America Latina is an ideal region for self-discovery. I highly recommend venturing and living the experience of exploring its territories.

The representatives

KDI School has a significant number of alumni from Latin America. This strengthens diplomatic diversity and explodes the potential of the cultural exchange. Currently, we have active student representatives from Peru, Mexico, United States, Ecuador, Nicaragua, El Salvador, Honduras, Belize, Bahamas, Grenada, Chile and Brazil.

The value of universality is latent in the institution. The Latin American and Caribbean forum is a crucial opportunity to bring the Latin American and Caribbean region closer to Asia and the rest of the world. The forum often organizes cultural events and research seminars. We hope to see you joining the future activities.