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Support for Korean Literature Overseas Universities

Funding at the University of British Columbia

In 2001, the International Communication Foundation established a professorship at the University of British Columbia in the Studies of Korean Literature and Literary Translation. The position was established due to the need to foster specialized translators and to create degree programs abroad in Korean Literature studies, thus increasing the number of scholars in the field.

At the time, UBC offered lectures in Chinese and Japanese studies, but not in Korean. A joint effort between the International Communication Foundation and UBC raised an endowment of CAD $2.5 million (about KRW $2 billion) and opened the prospect for lectureship in Korean Literature. In acknowledgement of Chairman Min Young-Bin’s determination to spread Korean literature across the globe, the position was officially named “The Young-Bin Min Chair in Korean Literature and Literary Translation.” Dr. Bruce Fulton is the inaugural holder of the position, and, since Fall 2002, has been teaching Korean-to-English literary translation as well as traditional and modern Korean literature. As a result, UBC is now playing a leading role in disseminating Korean literature in North America.

The funds have been used at UBC to provide lectures and research in Korean literary translation, to publish translated literary works, to hold a series of workshops, and to provide library materials.

Support for the Korea Institute at Harvard University

In 2002, the International Communication Foundation donated USD $1.5 million to Harvard University to establish and operate the Korea Institute whose purpose is the introduction of Korean literature to English-speaking countries through the translation and publication of Korean literature.

It was officially named “The Sunshik Min Endowment for the Advancement of Korean Literature” after Min Sunshik, vice-chairman of YBM and a Harvard Business School graduate.

The Korea Institute at Harvard University used the funds to support Korean literary translation and publication. It has also supported a variety of research activities and other support services related to the translation and publication of Korean literature. In the fall of 2007, the first issue of AZALEA was published to promote Korean culture and literature.

As the first specialized literary magazine to be published in America, AZALEA actively promotes the globalization of Korean culture and literature by publishing translations of Korean novels and poetry, book reviews, and interviews. This magazine, which dedicates the majority of its pages to Korean literary works, is used as a textbook in many universities across America and is received with enthusiasm in academia.

Through the efforts of the Korea Institute, we are hopeful that an increased number of Korean literary works will continue to be published and we predict a higher quality of literary translations and the successful promotion of Korean literature.

Support for the University of Oxford’s Lectureship in Korean Language and Linguistics

In June, 2006, ICF offered support of GBP 900 thousand pounds (about KRW 1.5 billion) to the University of Oxford’s Lectureship in Korean Language and Linguistics.
Since 1994, the lectureship had been funded and operated by the Korea Foundation (KF), an affiliate of the Korean government. Recognizing the need to train the next generation of experts who could help shape the views of Korea, ICF and KF offered support of GBP 900,000 pounds each, contributing a total of GBP 1.8 million pounds to the University of Oxford in 2006.
Since then, ICF with the cooperation of the Korea Foundation, has been supporting the university’s Korean program. Their combined financial support has helped the university maintain two professorship positions, one being in Korean History.