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andrew arnold, south korea, 2012-2013

Fulbright Year: 2012-2013
Country: South Korea
Proposal Type: Creative research project – filmmaking
Proposal Title: Engaged Buddhism; Buddhist Environmental Activism in South Korea
UGA Major/Department: International Affairs, Japanese Language and Literature
Degrees: B.A. in International Affairs, B.A. in Japanese
Hometown: LaGrange, GA

There’s a new wave of environmental and societal activism in South Korea, and Andrew Arnold is spending his Fulbright year observing and recording these activities for a documentary he’s planning.

While in South Korea, Andrew will begin work on a film on “engaged” Buddhism, which he said is playing a key role in the way Buddhist monks and nuns interact with society at large.

“Because of South Korea’s economic growth spurt within the last 30 years or so, Buddhist monks and nuns have been called upon to act on their inherently environmental beliefs in order to protect much of Korea’s natural beauty and ecosystems that rest on valuable real estate,” Andrew said. “I am hoping to gather interviews with lay Buddhists as well as monastics that are participating in the environmental movement, and also immerse myself in the Buddhist community to better understand the motivations and actions of ‘engaged’ Buddhism.”

Already two months into his project, Andrew admitted that his knowledge of Buddhism was still in its infancy, so he’s eager to embrace the experience.

“I am really looking forward to acquainting myself with the Buddhist community,” he said. “I hope to learn more about Buddhist culture and tradition in Korea. I’m looking forward to meeting new people, sharing new foods and really living in Korea while I’m here. Korean culture is so vibrant and unique, so I’m intent on building my language skills over the next year so I can continue to travel and work in Korea afterwards.”

At the conclusion of his Fulbright year, Andrew said he plans to put the finishing touches on his film and offer it on the independent circuit, especially college campuses.

“I will continue to work on filmmaking and directing and I hope to connect journalistic documentary with compelling storytelling,” he said.

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