The importance of public diplomacy has been increasingly underscored in a global setting where the success or failure of diplomatic strategies hinges on non-material elements like culture, knowledge, and ideology—commonly referred to as soft power. Particularly since the information revolution, there has been a mounting necessity for prudent public diplomacy in the Middle East. That is, it has become essential to proactively pursue a systematic strategy for public diplomacy in the region to reshape longstanding stereotypes and perceptions of Korea, as well as to cultivate soft power. Notably, as the Korea-Middle East relationship evolves into multidimensional cooperation beyond an economic focus on energy and construction, a thoughtful public diplomacy strategy must be constructed to avert the proliferation of distorted images of Korea in the Middle East, a region distinguished by a shared transnational identity.
In this context, this study first reviews trends in Korean public diplomacy in the Middle East and investigates the cases of key countries, including Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Egypt, and Turkey. Based on these insights, the study aims to propose a direction for Korea-Middle East public diplomacy as a main axis to strengthen the multidimensionally evolved Korea-Middle East cooperation. From this perspective, this research holds importance as it evaluates the current state of Korea's public diplomacy in the Middle East and offers recommendations for its advancement amidst the growing significance of such diplomatic efforts.