Exchanging Bows and Arrows: The Proclamation of World Traditional Archery Organization as an International NGO
In Yecheon, Gyeonsangbuk Province, the World Traditional Archery Organization Forum and Inaugural Assembly were held on 16 October 2017—three years after discussions of establishing an organization dedicated to archery culture began. The World Traditional Archery Organization (WTAO) was held in March 2016, with the intention of regarding the cultural value of archery in different countries across the world. As archery has historical presence in hunting, war, play, and ritual, WTAO aims to continuously present archery in its many forms to people for various purposes such as cultural exchange, forum, and exhibition. Furthermore, WTAO sees research on archery culture capable of helping understand humanity since archery can be found in myths, legends, folktales, music, and design. It recognizes the importance of persistently expressing the value of UNESCO’s cultural diversity.
On 16 October 2017, through intercultural exchange with various countries, WTAO was officially presented as an international NGO consisting of twenty-four member countries. With Bhutan, Turkey, and France, the Inaugural Assembly became a bridge for many other countries to share and explore the cultural thickness of archery. Under acting-chair Carmen Padilla, former Executive Director of NCCA (Philippines), the General Assembly approved the articles of association and elected Yecheon Mayor Lee Hyeon Joon as the first president of the organization.
Meanwhile, the Inaugural Assembly was held concurrently with the third Yecheon World Archery Festival under the theme “The Arrow of Cupid”. From 13 to 16 October 2017, Korean and Western archery experiences, exhibition, and trial performances were programed. The public had the chance to take a glimpse of archery culture through a street parade.