UNESCO World Heritage Project

Die Austauschgruppe im Kloster Haein-sa
In der Welterbestätte Kloster Lorsch

As part of the school exchange program between the Hainberg Grammar School in Göttingen (ASPnet since 1993) and the Daewon Foreign Langugage High School in Seoul/South Korea (ASPnet since 1998), in cooperation with the Haein-sa monastery and the monastery of Lorsch, both world heritage sites.

There has been a partnership since September 2004 between the Buddhist Chogye order of the Korean Haein-sa monastery and the monastery of Lorsch in Germany.

This is the first world heritage partnership for Korea and also the first cooperation of this kind within the framework of a global network as recommended in 2000 by the world heritage center in Paris. 

Both monasteries possess symbolic significance in their respective religious contexts: both can look back over a 1200 year history and have had or have significant impact on their respective cultural environment.  In the Middle Ages, Lorsch, as a regal monastery, represented a significant factor in the political and economic world.  It played a central role both as an educational establishment and as a centre of knowledge.  Haein-sa retains to this day the unique collection of over 80.000 wooden printing plates (tripitaka) that were used to preserve for posterity the most important Zen Buddhist texts following the Mongol invasions in the early 13th century.  They contain Rules of Life and the stories relating to their origins, Buddha’s teachings and related commentaries.

During his welcoming speech on the occasion of the signing of the partnership charter the Abbott of the Haein-sa community, Semin Sunim stated: “Our partnership is a contribution to the meeting between East Asian and European spirituality.  Tolerance and love give birth to mutual recognition which gives rise to peace in the world.”  Dr. Schefers, who initiated the UNESCO partnership project emphasized: “The partnership is a contribution to world peace and should not be viewed simply as symbolic.  This partnership is intended above all to promote intercultural dialogue, specifically symposia, cultural exchanges, joint exhibition projects, student exchange programs and furthermore to enable internships in museums.”

Equally new and unique is the project work on the subject of “World Heritage” that is supported by both the Hainberg grammar school in Göttingen and the Daewon Foreign Language High School in Seoul. Both schools have supported an intense school partnership since 1994 with regular exchange visits.

Our Korean partner school has now taken the first step towards promoting a lively and active world heritage education at the school (“this is not only a first for the 100 ASPnet schools in South Korea, but for all schools in Korea”,  affirmed Mr. U. T. Chung, country coordinator for ASPnet schools in Korea.)

The German and Korean pupils get to know their respective local world heritage sites as mirrors of diverse cultures and symbols of stability in a rapidly changing world, and they come to appreciate the distinctiveness of each one.  They get to know world heritage sites that are related to world religions and religious persuasions.  They further come to appreciate that correlations exist both between culture and nature as well as between different cultures.

Verleihung des Walter-Mertineit-Preises

A special highlight of the year 2006:

The Hainberg Grammar School in Göttingen and the UNESCO World Heritage Site Lorsch Abbey received the Walter Mertineit Prize 2006 of the German Commission for UNESCO (DUK).

Project schedule 2009/10:

29./30.08.09 Korean exchange group (16 pupils) visits monastery at Lorsch in preparation
12.-15.05.10 German exchange group visits the Haein-sa monastery:Morning ceremony, Zen meditation, Dado tea ceremony, Barugonggyang monks meal, lecture on Buddhism
August 2010 joint visit of the Korean and German exchange groups to the Lorsch monastery
Oktober 10 Korean exchange group to visit Haein-sa monastery


The constraints of the Korean school system (and of our partner school) do not permit that both exchange groups visit Haein-sa together because the exchange trip always takes place during the school term of the Korean pupils.  They are permitted to visit as a group during the summer vacation.  The necessary arrangements have already been made with Mr. Doyoung Sumin (the head of the museum).

Special thanks go to Dr. Hermann Schefers, the head of the Lorsch monastery, for arranging the necessary contacts in Korea (with the Haein-sa monastery and the Korean UNESCO commission) and for taking such excellent care of the group at Lorsch, together with Mrs. Claudia Götz.