The Indiana University Hamilton Lugar School of Global and International Studies and its Institute for Korean Studies have received $1.65 million from the Korea Foundation and IU alumni Young-Jin Kim and William (Won-Suk) Joo to endow a professorship in Korean studies. The social science professorship will be established in the Hamilton Lugar School's Department of East Asian Languages and Cultures.
The addition of the Korea Foundation Professorship in Korean Studies, which will be awarded to a social scientist, will solidify Indiana University's status as a hub for Korean studies in the Midwest and a leading program on the national stage.
"Indiana University continues to strengthen its position as a leader among U.S. colleges and universities in fostering greater understanding of and appreciation for contemporary Korea, one of the world's most technologically advanced and digitally connected countries, and one of our nation's most important strategic and economic partners," IU President Michael A. McRobbie said. "With this extraordinarily generous support -- from two of our most accomplished Korean alumni -- IU is poised to further its multidisciplinary research and scholarship about Korea that will benefit IU students who are learning about the most important global issues that confront the world today, as well as leading scholars and institutions all around the world."
"We salute the Korea Foundation, Young-Jin Kim and William (Won-Suk) Joo, whose vision and exceptional generosity have helped to consolidate and strengthen Indiana University's position as one of the field's premier institutions -- in the Midwest and across the United States," said former Ambassador Lee Feinstein, founding dean of the Hamilton Lugar School.
The Korea Foundation, the key institution for Korea's public diplomacy, and engaged alumni like Kim and Joo have been pivotal in expanding and enhancing programs focused on the Republic of Korea. Their previous gifts -- totaling more than $1.5 million -- helped establish the Korea Foundation Chair in Korean Studies, which is held by Professor Seung-kyung Kim, and launch the Institute for Korean Studies.
Under Kim's leadership, the Institute for Korean Studies has advanced interdisciplinary approaches to the understanding of Korea at Indiana University and across the country. Before the pandemic, the institute hosted an annual international conference to discuss Korean economic and geopolitical issues -- a colloquium series encompassing both humanities and the social sciences -- as well as a speech contest for IU language learners.
Most recently, the institute partnered with the Korean Embassy in the United States on a four-part online series examining the influence of Korean pop culture in North America. More than 4,000 people tuned in for the series, a reflection of Korea's increasing soft power.
"We are pleased to cooperate with Indiana University and alumni Young-Jin Kim and William (Won-Suk) Joo to endow a professorship in Korean Studies," Korea Foundation President Lee Geun said. "Since 1997, IU has been one of the most prominent and industrious partners in building an extensive infrastructure of Korean studies in the U.S. This endowment will bring further diversity to Korean studies research, helping IU to continue promoting an in-depth understanding of Korea, as well as fostering future experts who will bring a fresh perspective to the field."
The Hamilton Lugar School has 344 students enrolled in Korean language, a 400 percent increase from 10 years ago. IU has more than 6,600 Korean alumni, and the Korea Chapter of the IU Alumni Association is one of the largest IU alumni groups in the world. Additionally, nearly 450 of IU Bloomington's international students come from Korea each year.
Kim received an MBA from the IU Kelley School of Business in 1984. He is chairman and CEO of Handok Inc., a leading Korean pharmaceutical company. Joo received an MBA from the Kelley School in 1987 and is chairman of MediaWill Group, which consists of companies in diverse business sectors such as publishing, TV home shopping, electronics wholesale and retail, online business platforms, and food and beverage.