Photo by Kathy F. Atkinson May 16, 2017
President Assanis hosts delegation from Hankuk University of Foreign Studies
While just under 7,000 miles separate the University of Delaware and Hankuk University of Foreign Studies (HUFS), ties run decades-deep between the two institutions, whose representatives met earlier this month in Newark.
The delegation, invited by UD President Dennis Assanis, included HUFS president In Chul Kim, former HUFS president and former South Korean minister for education, science and technology Byong Man Ahn, and dean of international affairs Chong Jin Oh.
The visit began on May 1 with a signing ceremony attended by Kim, Assanis, Michael Vaughan, associate dean for academic affairs of the College of Engineering, and David Redlawsk, chair of the Department of Political Science and International Relations.
At the ceremony, UD and HUFS renewed their double degree agreement and established two new supplemental agreements to facilitate faculty exchanges between the two institutions in the fields of engineering and political science and international relations.
“For more than 35 years, Hankuk University and the University of Delaware have enjoyed a special friendship,” Assanis said. “Such cross-cultural connections have never been more important than they are today, and we look forward to an even stronger, more productive relationship with HUFS in the future.”
In addition, members of the visiting delegation toured UD’s Science, Technology and Advanced Research (STAR) Campus with Assanis and Kathy Matt, dean of the College of Health Sciences, and met with representatives from the School of Public Policy and Administration and the Alfred Lerner College of Business and Economics to discuss further collaboration.
“Seoul is a model of engagement between ordinary citizens and their city governments. It is quite impressive democracy in progress,” said Maria Aristigueta, director of the School of Public Policy and Administration. In the future, the school will explore the strengthening of its already existing presence in the city, particularly with HUFS, which offers more than 300 courses per semester taught in the English language.
The visit also included a special reception with UD’s South Korean international students and scholars and members of Delaware’s Korean community.
A historic relationship
The relationship between UD and HUFS dates back to 1970 when William Boyer, Charles Polk Messick Professor Emeritus in the Department of Political Science and International Relations, met Ahn, then a young instructor at Myong-Ji University in Seoul. “I was invited by the president of the university, who honored me as the first honorary professor there,” said Boyer.
What ensued were years of exchange, many through fellowships by the Fulbright Program.
“As years passed, Byong Man Ahn earned a Ph.D. at the University of Florida as a Fulbright student and returned to Korea to become a faculty member at Hankuk University of Foreign Studies,” Boyer said. “In 1975, I myself returned to Seoul as a Fulbright professor to conduct research on rural development there. Dr. Ahn was also conducting research on that subject and we decided to collaborate.”
Later, Ahn visited the University of Delaware as a Fulbright scholar in residence and spent 12 Winter Sessions at UD teaching courses in Political Science.
“Ahn always sent his best HUFS graduate students to UD’s political science Ph.D. program,” said Boyer. “One of them was In Chul Kim, now president of HUFS, who excelled as one of my Korean advisees and ultimately earned UD’s Ryden Prize for the best Ph.D. dissertation in the social sciences.” Kim, too, traveled to UD as a Fulbright Foreign Student.
Kim received a Ph.D. in political science from the University of Delaware in 1988, and Ahn received an honorary Ph.D. in humanities from UD in 2004.
In 1989, UD and HUFS signed their first official memorandum of understanding. Later agreements made it possible for students of both institutions to pursue a double degree, spending two years in Newark and another two in Seoul. Hundreds of HUFS students participated in summer and Winter Session programs at the English Language Institute.
IGS hosts panel
On May 2, the Institute for Global Studies hosted a special Fulbright panel to celebrate the visiting delegation and the decades of continued partnership between UD and HUFS. The panel was moderated by Darryl Flaherty, director of the UD Asian Studies program, and featured Boyer along with William Latham, associate professor of economics (Fulbright South Korea, 1987); Marian Palley, professor emerita of political science and international relations Fulbright South Korea, 1988); and Sang Hun Lee, Fulbright Foreign Student who currently studies in UD’s energy and environmental policy program.
Each was asked to discuss the understanding of Korean and American culture they’d gained through their participation in the Fulbright Program.
Palley, whose research focused primarily on women and politics, noted the change that she’d seen in the progressiveness of the Korean political system over a few short years. “There were no women in the national assembly at the time. Now, there are 51 women in the national assembly. That’s 17 percent,” she said. “This is just since 1988 that you see this rather dramatic shift.”
From the audience, In Chul Kim chimed in to note the importance of the Fulbright program in his own life and his plans to pay the opportunity forward to future generations. “I’ve launched my own university version of the Fulbright scholarship. Run by HUFS, the International Diplomatic Scholarship invites two or three well-qualified high school graduates each year from many countries across the world. This is in its second year,” he said, adding that the program now hosts 75 students from 35 countries.