On August 18, 2017, the International School Network visited the Embassy of Colombia to Japan to interview the Ambassador, His Excellency Mr. Gabriel Duque.
H.E. Mr. Duque showed us the map of Colombia and explained how the country’s geography greatly influences the culture. People’s lifestyles are very different depending on where they live within Colombia. For instance, the Andean mountains make it difficult to build infrastructures on many areas of the country, allowing for the indigenous culture to be well preserved in Colombia.
The mixture of the culture of the indigenous people and the Spanish created the rich and diverse culture of today’s Colombia, which can also be seen in music that greatly differs depending on the areas of the country.
H.E. Mr. Duque stated that some of Colombia’s cultural values include the strong bond between families as well as extended families and following the teachings of one’s respective religious beliefs. Although there are people coming from different cultural backgrounds due to Colombia’s distinct geography and long history of immigrants, 90% of the people in the country are Christian. Accordingly, many cultural values and festivities are related to Christianity.
As Colombia embraces a high biodiversity and is rich in resources, the country exports a wide range of products such as coffee, emeralds, flowers, and many more.
Trade between Colombia and Japan plays an important role in the relationship between the two countries, with around half of Colombia exports to Japan is coffee.
H.E. Mr. Duque commented that globalization is one of his favorite topics as he himself was part of the World Trade Organization (WTO) in which their main motive is to discuss rules and regulations in trade across borders.
He believes that technology and communication has made the world smaller where we can easily come in contact with other nations to consider relevant issues. Since we are all global citizens, there is an importance for all of us to be concerned by our neighboring countries and be united as a whole.
He commented that he wants to encourage Japanese students to always be curious, and to learn about the world with clear and updated information. He concluded that he wishes for the bilateral relations between Colombia and Japan to strengthen through active technical and cultural interactions.
(Reported by Madoka Nishina)