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Dr Hee Sook Lee-Niinioja

Cultural Heritage

Independent Scholar



Dr Hee Sook Lee-Niinioja is an artist, designer, journalist and scholar. After receiving a first in her BA degree in journalism at Ewha Womans University, South Korea, she became an Asian pioneer in Scandinavia in 1975 to study art and design at the Norwegian National College of Art and Design. She undertook an MA in visual communication at Syracuse University, USA, before obtaining her PhD in architecture at Oxford Brookes University, UK. She has also studied theology, literature and languages.

With several international exhibitions on "Goethe in me", she has written numerous articles in newspapers, magazines, and journals, presented papers at international conferences, as well as writing academic paper reviews and book chapters, both in her home country and abroad.

She has done voluntary humanitarian work for tsunami victims as well as in prisons, hospitals, and NGOs, and has lectured at many different universities and institutions during her long residence abroad. As a result, she has a good command of many languages. She has received a number of awards and commendations for her intercultural humanitarian work, including the Civil Merit Award from President Kim Dae Jung of South Korea, and others from the Kuwait-ruling Sabah family, the Ministry of Interior, and universities and NGOs in Kuwait and Indonesia.

Hae Sook is a specialist in the comparison of Hindu-Buddhist/Christian/Islamic religious architecture and ornamentation, cultural heritage, text-image in semiotics, and colour emotions, and hopes to enhance dialogues between different religions in currently conflicted societies. At present, she devotes herself to research, art, journalism, book projects, and activities organised through the International Committee on Intangible Cultural Heritage of the International Council on Monuments and Sites (ICOMOS-ICICH) and other organisations.