Indiana University launches Institute for Korean Studies
Posted : 2016-12-28 16:15
Updated : 2016-12-28 17:31
Indiana University President Michael A. McRobbie, third from right, poses with Academy of Korean Studies President Lee Ki-dong, center, and his delegation at Lee's office in Seongnam, Gyeonggi Province, Dec. 5. / Courtesy of Indiana University
By Chung Hyun-chae
Indiana University (IU) in the United States has been stepping up its strategic efforts to expand its academic programs focused on East Asia, especially Korea.
As part of their efforts, the IU School of Global and International Studies launched the Institute for Korean Studies in September.
"The primary purpose of establishing the institute is to strengthen the understanding by IU students of contemporary Korea, including its people, culture and history, and, more broadly, to serve as the leading center for Korean studies in the Midwest region of the U.S., and as one of the top institutes of its kind nationally," IU President Michael A. McRobbie said.
"I have witnessed, firsthand, the country's many great achievements and remarkable progress. Still, we don't believe enough Americans have a broad enough understanding of contemporary Korea."
The institute was created with the support of the Korea Foundation (KF) and donations from alumni Kim Young-jin, William Joo and a third anonymous Korean donor.
"Korea boasts one of the world's largest economies, and it is among the world's most technologically advanced and digitally connected countries. It is also one of the United States' most important strategic and economic partners," McRobbie said.
"IU's new Institute for Korean Studies will serve as a vibrant center for multidisciplinary research and scholarship about Korea that will benefit our students as well as scholars and institutions around the world."
Last year, IU appointed Professor Kim Seung-kyung, former director of the Center for East Asian Studies at the University of Maryland, as the inaugural director of the new institute.
McRobbie visited Korea earlier this month to visit Korean institutions and meet education officials and IU alumni. This was his sixth visit to the country after taking office as IU president in 2007.
On Dec. 4, McRobbie attended an annual general meeting organized by the IU Alumni Association at the Ritz-Carlton Seoul with more than 300 alumni attending. The event was to celebrate the 30th anniversary of the Korea chapter of the association.
The university has more than 9,000 international students, 800 of whom are Korean, making them the third-largest ethnic group at IU after the Chinese and Indians. There are more than 4,600 Korean IU alumni, and the Korea chapter is one of the most active alumni groups in the world, according to McRobbie.
The deep ties between IU and Korea have not been an overnight achievement.
IU has formed partnerships with top universities of Korea including Yonsei, Seoul National, Sungkyungkwan and Ewha Womans universities. Its partnership with Yonsei, for example, is 30 years old.
As the first American university to have a school of informatics and computing, IU has also been engaging in various student exchanges and faculty research collaborations with its Korean partner universities.
"Additionally, we have worked with Seoul National University's Research Center for Bioinformatics and Computational Biology on initiating joint research projects involving faculty and graduate students," McRobbie said.
"We have also had numerous discussions with Sungkyunkwan University toward helping it pursue the development of its own school of informatics."