Korean Studies celebration focuses international attention on York


Above: Tradition Korean dancing

A lively celebration held last Wednesday, Dec. 5, marked York’s expanding attention to Korean studies through the recent establishment of courses in Korean language and culture in the Faculty of Arts. Hosted by the Department of Languages, Literatures & Linguistics, the event toasted the implementation of courses at the introductory and intermediate levels.

Left: Tae Yun Ha

Students, staff and faculty along with members of the Korean business, cultural and media communities gathered in the Founders Assembly Hall to share their enthusiasm and enjoy a presentation of traditional Korean dance. Among the guests were Tae Yun Ha, consul general of the Korean Consulate, and Klaus Ruppercht, consul general of the German Consulate.


Right: Sheila Embleton and Klaus Ruppercht

Along with Faculty of Arts Dean Robert Drummond and VP Academic Sheila Embleton, York President and Vice-Chancellor Lorna R. Marsden observed that “Korea is immensely important in today’s world: economically, politically and culturally. Although Canada and Korea enjoy a longstanding friendship, we will always benefit from a better understanding of this rich culture. The building of a Korean Studies program at York is an important step in this direction and helps us in meeting the interests of our students and faculty.”

In his remarks, Ha praised York’s commitment to the pursuit of studies in Korean: “It is very significant that York University is helping Korea to build its Canadian profile through the study of language and culture. This holds great promise for many Korean students. These courses will also enhance the profile of York University in the local Korean community as well as in Korea.”

Left: Neena Ryoo (left) and Will Choi (Bob Drummond, background)

Students Will Choi and Neena Ryoo, executive members of the York University Korean Students’ Association, echoed Ha’s praise of York. “Learning the language is the best way to learn about Korean culture and people,” said Ryoo. “We have many members of our association who were born in Canada and most didn’t realize the importance of learning their mother tongue. This opportunity really helps them in their education of the Korean language. It’s awesome.”

Drummond expressed his delight in hearing from these students about “the value of these courses to their members, and to many other students at York.” Department Chair Nick Elson expects this sentiment – as well as “support and advice which is very much appreciated from Consul Ha” – to drive continued course development.

“Next year we will be adding advanced Korean,” said Elseon. “The York administration has also been very supportive of our expansion into Korean language, and we anticipate over the next few years the development of additional courses in towards a program of study in Korean.”

For more information on programs of study, visit the Department of Languages, Literatures and Linguistics or call ext. 55016.