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Oxford to retain Korean Studies programme

From yesterday’s Korea Times. Thanks to Aidan FC for spotting this.

Oxford University will continue to run its Korean studies program, which was initially scheduled to close down in June 2007, thanks to financial support a Korean nonprofit organization and a private company.

The Korea Foundation, a nonprofit organization committed to promoting international understanding of Korea, and YBM/Sisa institute, which manages TOEIC tests in Korea, have decided to provide 3 billion won ($3.16 million), 1.5 billion won each, in academic funding to one of the world’s most prestigious universities.

Kwon In-hyuk, president of the Korea foundation and Min Sun-shik, YBM/Sisa president, will attend a ceremony today in London to sign an agreement to provide the funds aimed at offering British and other international students the Korean studies program.

Oxford established the program in 1994 with the help of the Korea Foundation, but in March last year, the university decided to close down the program in June, 2007, citing lack of funds.

To continue the Korean Studies program, the school needs a minimum of three professors covering Korean language, history, and literature.

YBM/Sisa president Min said the company decided to donate money to keep the Korean program running at Oxford because educating foreigners about Korea is crucial to upgrading the country’s international profile and image.

“Maintaining the Korean studies program is important as it helps international students, who will later become opinion leaders in their respective countries, better understand Korea and play a positive role in promoting Korea’s image abroad,” he noted.

Min also said the country’s leading language institute will support other overseas academic programs in a bid to further encourage foreign students to learn and understand Korea’s language, history and literature.

One thought on “Oxford to retain Korean Studies programme

  1. Good news indeed, though I would have thought that in terms of upgrading the country’s image the money would have been better spent at the Language Institute, which in my time did a great job of introducing Asian (but not Korean) culture to the university’s vast number of undergraduates.

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