Thirty-five years ago, University of Toronto was the first Canadian university to offer a course on Korea. Now a landmark $3.2-million donation from the Korea Foundation will solidify U of T’s position as a leading source of scholarship on the east Asian nation, with the creation of an endowed chair and the launch of a centre for Korean studies.
Professor Andre Schmid, chair of the Department of East Asian Studies, says the donation will enable U of T to conduct groundbreaking research and offer more courses on Korea, particularly in the social sciences. “We will develop scholarly collaborations with specialists in Korea, promote student exchanges between our countries and enhance outreach with Toronto’s Korean community, the largest in Canada,” he says.
U of T’s Korean Studies program includes courses in history, anthropology, language and religious studies. Kwon In Hyuk, president of the Korea Foundation, a public organization based in Seoul, expects the gift to promote stronger links between Canada and his home country. “We are pleased to work with the University of Toronto to facilitate awareness and understanding of Korea worldwide and to foster co-operative relationships between Korea and the rest of the world,” he says.
Professor Pekka Sinervo, dean of the Faculty of Arts and Science, says U of T is now in an excellent position to respond to growing interest worldwide in Korea. “U of T will become an important resource for Canadian society and the international community on this fascinating nation,” he says.