RFKC RCKC GroupPic 2016 HaeMinChung80Bday

We would like to wish a happy 80th birthday to Hae Min Chung—President of the Research Foundation for Korean Community (RFKC).

 On Thursday, July 14, 2016, President Chung's family members, board members of RFKC, and staff members of RCKC met at the Great Room of 20 Riverwalk Place in West New York, New Jersey for a delicious, fun, and festive 80th birthday celebration for President Chung. In Korean culture, both the 70th and 80th birthday celebrations are important milestones in one's life. In particular, if someone made it to their 80th year in the old days, it was considered a sign of great health, fortune, and prosperity. He has served as President of RFKC since 2012, and towards the end of the birthday party, he announced that he will be stepping down as President at the end of this summer. Jea-Seung Ko, who is currently the Senior Vice President of RFKC, will take over once President Chung steps down.

Over the years, President Chung has worked very hard to help and serve the Korean and Korean-American communities in the New York-New Jersey area. Since immigrating to the U.S. in 1974, he has founded and established a Korean school, worked for the New York City government as an outreach and community coordinator for the NYC Citizenship Program and Office of Immigrant Initiatives, been Chair of the Board of Directors of the Korean American Voters' Council of New York and New Jersey, and been a Co-Chair of the New York Coalition for House Resolution 121 (the "Comfort Women" resolution). In 2013, he received the Vision Award from Korean Community Services, and in 2010, he received Special Congressional Recognition from U.S. Congressman Michael Honda. These are just a few of his many accomplishments and activities.

We would like to express our sincere appreciation to President Chung for all of the hard work he has done for our Research Center as well as for the Korean and Korean-American communities at large. We wish him continued good health and prosperity.

Click the link below for some video footage from the event:

President Hae Min Chung 80th Birthday Party 


On Tuesday, July 12, 2016, Professor Jai Gi Kim of Chonnam National University gave a talk titled "People of Korean Ancestry in Cuba: Immigrants' Participation in the Korean Independence Movement and the Present-Day Lives of Their Descendants" at KCS (Korean Community Services of Metropolitan New York). This event was part of our regular seminar series. Professor Kim is one of our research center's visiting scholars for 2015-2016. Approximately 50 people attended the talk, which was given in Korean.

At present, there are approximately 1,000 people of Korean ancestry residing in Cuba. They are the descendants of roughly 300 Korean immigrants who migrated from Mexico to Cuba in 1921. Based on his recent visit to Cuba, Professor Kim's talk focused on two main topics: (1) Korean Cuban immigrants' participation in the Korean independence movement in the early 20th century and (2) the present-day lives of their Korean Cuban descendants. Professor Kim also gave a brief history of Cuba, talked about Cuban culture, and shared some videos that he recorded during his visit.

Jai Gi Kim is a Professor of Political Science at Chonnam National University in Gwangju, Jeollanam-do, South Korea. He has done research on a broad range of issues concerning overseas Koreans, including Koreans in China, the former Soviet Union, and the United States. He arrived at the Research Center for Korean Community at Queens College as a visiting scholar in September 2015 and will return to Korea this coming August. During his tenure as a visiting scholar here, he has actively conducted research and traveled around the eastern United States. In particular, by analyzing archives of Sinhan Minbo newspapers from the early 20th century, he found extensive evidence of how actively involved Korean Americans were in the Korean independence movement.

KoreanLanguageTeachersInNewYork BookCover

We would like to announce the publication of another book produced by the Research Center for Korean Community. This edited book, titled Korean Language Teachers in New York, was co-edited by Professor Pyong Gap Min (Director of RCKC) and Sejung Yim (Research Associate at RCKC). This edited anthology was published by Bookorea Publishing Company in Seoul, South Korea, and it features personal essays by fourteen Korean language teachers in the New York-New Jersey area. This book also includes English-language essays by a few students about why they think it is important to learn the Korean language.

There will be a release party for the book at KCS (Korean Community Services) in Flushing some time in the next few months.


Angie Chung KCS Pic May31 2016

On Tuesday, May 31, 2016, Professor Angie Chung gave a talk titled "The Politics of Ethnicity and Urban Redevelopment in Koreatown, Los Angeles" at KCS (Korean Community Services) as part of RCKC's ongoing regular lecture series. Approximately twenty people were in attendance, and there was an interesting question-and-answer session after the conclusion of Professor Chung's talk.   

Professor Chung presented preliminary findings from her NSF-funded research project on the politics of economic growth and urban redevelopment in Koreatown, Los Angeles. Within a decade after thousands of Korean-owned businesses were destroyed in the 1992 LA riots, Koreatown has experienced a remarkable economic rebirth. This presentation examined some of the factors that have played a role in this turnaround, including the local economic growth of the LA garment industry and transnational investment from abroad. Professor Chung also highlighted the role that political fragmentation and heightened competition among Korean apparel factory owners, as well as competition with Persian Jewish garment industry owners, has played in spurring Koreatown's rapid growth.

Angie Y. Chung is an Associate Professor of Sociology at the University at Albany. She has served as Visiting Professor at Yonsei and Korea University, and is currently the 2016 Dr. Thomas Tam Visiting Scholar at the CUNY Graduate Center and Asian American/ Asian Research Institute (AAARI). She is author of Legacies of Struggle: Conflict and Cooperation in Korean American Politics and a forthcoming book, Saving Face: The Emotional Costs of the Asian Immigrant Family Myth. Chung has published on the topics of ethnic politics, interethnic coalitions, immigrant families, ethnic enclaves, and the second generation in various journals such as Ethnicities, Urban Affairs Review, Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies, and Qualitative Sociology.   


 ProfMinSeminarPicMarch1 2016

On Tuesday, March 1, 2016, Pyong Gap Min (Director of RCKC and Professor of Sociology at Queens College and the CUNY Graduate Center) gave a talk titled "The Intergenerational Progression of the Korean Community: The Problem of Ethnic Attrition." This event took place at KCS (Korean Community Services), located at 35-56 159th Street, Flushing, NY 11358.

Most studies of the acculturation of immigrant ethnic groups have focused on intergenerational socioeconomic mobility. Additionally, many studies have also examined younger-generation Americans' retention of ethnic culture and identity. However, these studies have neglected to look at the flipside of this, which is ethnic attrition or a reduction of ethnic characteristics. Even though acculturation into the host society helps the second generation move up socioeconomically, it coincides with a concomitant reduction in ethnic characteristics. Ethnic retention and ethnic attrition can be understood in different ways, even though they mostly deal with the same phenomena. Professor Min talked about and made some predictions about how quickly Korean ethnic attrition can occur within the Korean community as generations increase. Additionally, he made some policy suggestions regarding pathways toward increasing ethnic retention and slowing down ethnic attrition without compromising immigrant communities' ability to acculturate to the host society. 


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