Seoul and Montreal may be separated by more than 10,000 kilometers, but thanks to the Korea Foundation, that distance will now seem shorter. McGill University’s Faculty of Arts has received a $1-million gift from the Foundation to create a new Professorship in Korean Studies, which will promote teaching, research collaborations and scholarship related to this fast-developing nation.
The Korea Foundation Professorship of Korean Studies will allow McGill to attract and retain a top international scholar who will promote a deeper understanding and appreciation of Korea and expose students to the nation’s rich and complex culture and history. The scholar, who will be based in the Department of East Asian Studies, will also work to nurture collaborations between the University and other key local and national educational and cultural institutions to further enrich the discipline in Quebec and Canada.
Dean of Arts Christopher Manfredi is grateful to the foundation and believes that the new professorship will be instrumental in elevating McGill’s position as a leading authority devoted to the language and culture of Korea. “By supporting the Department of East Asian Studies, this gift will have a significant and lasting impact on our students and the community at large,” he says. “Academically, it will enable the Faculty to sustain a position for a scholarly expert in Korean Studies and cement McGill’s place at the forefront of this vital area of study. Further, the opportunity to create the Korea Foundation Professorship in Korean Studies will enrich our overall East Asian Studies curriculum and provide our best and brightest students with new areas for study and research.”
The creation of this tenure-track position will provide an important boost to the Department of East Asian Studies, which currently only has one permanent staff member in the Korean field who teaches Korean language. The new appointee is expected to offer courses focusing on select aspects of Korean history, contemporary culture, film and media studies, literature and/or society. Thanks to the new professorship, the Department will work towards establishing a graduate program in the specialty. “This is a tremendous step for our program,” says Professor Robin D.S. Yates, Chair of the Department. “While many universities are now downsizing their East Asian Studies programs, McGill is strengthening and enhancing our own initiatives.”
Established in 1991, the Korea Foundation aims to enhance Korea’s image in the world and to promote academic and cultural exchange programs. It has supported the study of Korea at 150 universities in 50 countries around the world, and has given generously to fund education and research at McGill for over 15 years.
Woosang Kim, President of the Korea Foundation, is confident that this new partnership with McGill will significantly contribute to a better understanding of his homeland among Canadians. “I would like to extend my sincere appreciation to McGill for its commitment to the furthering of Korean Studies,” he says. “We have observed an interest in Korean Studies at McGill and are gratified to establish a permanent position to continually offer courses about Korean society and culture to some of the best and brightest students in Canada. I also expect that in the future there will be many more Korean Studies courses and activities at McGill through the Korea Foundation’s cooperation with the esteemed University.”
For more information on the McGill Department of East Asian Studies, please visit http://www.mcgill.ca/eas/