The University of British Columbia's commitment to Asia-Pacific Studies has a long history, offering of specialized courses on Korea since 1982. Interest in and need for distinguished research in Korean studies continued to grow and thus in 1993, the Centre for Korean Research was established as a constituent part of the Institute of Asian Research with generous gifts from various organizations including the Korean Community in Vancouver led by the British Columbia Society for the Advancement of Korean Studies, the Korea Foundation, the Pohang Iron and Steel Co, and the Sammi Group.
Over the past two decades, CKR has been the leader of Korean studies in Canada with its vibrant programs of research and teaching, community involvement and international exchange. It was established to facilitate research on Korea through multidisciplinary approaches. Specifically, the CKR aims to:
- Intensify UBC’s focus on Korea and Canada-Korea issues;
- Develop funded research projects;
- Organize interdisciplinary research seminars, workshops, projects, lectures and conferences;
- Facilitate the exchange of scholars; and
- Expand scholarly opportunities for graduate students; and serve as a forum for interaction between UBC and the Korean Canadian community.
Since its inception, CKR has continued to win recognition as a major hub of Korean studies in North America and beyond. Recently the CKR and UBC have been awarded a prestigious five-year grant from the Academy of Korean Studies.
As the first Korean studies centre in Canada and the only one in BC, CKR will maintain its pivotal role in linking academic institutions in BC, across Canada and indeed the world. Its collaborative projects include educational and research partnerships or consortiums with academic institutions in Korea, North America and Japan, including Kyujanggak Institute for Korean Studies at Seoul National University, Korea Cultural Research Institute at Ewha Womans University, Tongbuk-A munhwa kyoryu yŏn’guso at Korea University, Han’guk minjok munhwa yon’guso at Pusan National University, Tamla Cultural Research Institute at Cheju National University, Research Center of Korean Studies at Kyushu University, and American Korean studies centres (U-Washington, U-Hawaii, UC Berkeley, UC Los Angeles, Chicago, Michigan, Columbia, Harvard and Stanford).
Each year the CKR serves as home to the largest number of visiting Korea-scholars in Canada from many parts of the world, including academics, NGO activists, mass media experts, government officials and graduate students.
They come to enjoy the most extensive resources for Korean studies in Canada and an active research and teaching program that has vigorously pursued the University’s mission to engage the broader community. The CKR has hosted series of public seminars, conferences and workshops to facilitate the exchange of ideas between academia and the public in both Canada and Korea. All these programs and activities have raised UBC’s standing in Korean studies and the CKR will continue to lead world-class research and education in Korean studies.