Major Endowment for Korean Studies
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For over a decade, faculty, graduate students and undergraduates from a number of departments and schools, together with members of the local Korean-American community, have worked to establish a Korean Studies Program at the University of Michigan. These efforts culminated on July 26 with the signing of an agreement by Chang-Yoon Choi, president of the Seoul-based Korea Foundation, and James Duderstadt, president of the U-M. The agreement stipulates a $1.5 million gift, to be paid over the next five years, to endow a professorship in Korean Studies.
The Korea Foundation will also make up to $500,000 available for the specific purposes of community outreach, student support and library acquisitions. During this period, the University will commit over $2 million dollars of its own funds to the Korean Studies Program. These funds will establish a second professorship, upgrade a foreign language lecturer to a tenured position, and pay for administrative support, faculty travel, conferences, and visiting scholars. Finally the Korean Studies Program plans to raise an additional $1 million dollars from outside sources to build an endowment for program support.
Korean Studies is a joint program of the Business School and the College of Literature, Science, and the Arts. The Program is governed by a faculty committee, chaired by David William Cohen, director of the International Institute.
Key projects for the coming year include faculty development, improving Korean library services, and fund-raising. During 1995-96, the Visiting Professor in Korean Studies is Hyun Ok Park (Ph.D., 1994, Sociology, University of California, Berkeley), a specialist in social and cultural change and industrial development; she will teach in the Department of Sociology and the Business School. The Department of Asian Languages and Cultures and the School of Music are conducting a search for a specialist in Korean culture, who will hold a joint appointment. Asian Languages and Cultures will continue to offer Korean language courses (beginning, second-year and third-year) and has developed a plan to accommodate increasing student demand in this area. Last winter marked the beginning of undergraduate exchange programs, organized by the Office of International Programs, between the U-M and two Korean universities: Ewha Woman's University and Yonsei University. This fall, six Korean students will come to the U-M, and two U-M students will study in Korea, one each at Ewha and Yonsei.
"Over the last few years," said David Cohen, "there has been wonderful community and alumni support for Korean Studies." Fund-raising efforts for the Korean Studies Program have been spearheaded by the University of Michigan Korean Leadership Council, receiving support from the University of Michigan Korean Alumni Society; the Korean Student Association; the Supporting Committee of the Korean Studies Program; the Korean Society of Ann Arbor; the Korean Medical Association of Michigan; the Korean American Community of Metro Detroit; and the Saejong Society.
The Korea Foundation was established in 1992 to foster understanding and cooperative relationships between Korea and foreign countries. The Foundation provides support to foreign universities and museums, and fellowships to scholars who wish to study the Korean language in Korea. It also provides funding for international forums, supports Korean participants in international events, and invites distinguished visitors to Korea.
The Foundation publishes and distributes foreign-language periodicals about Korean culture, and supports a variety of different local and overseas exhibitions, performances and other events.