Winners of the First RCKC Essay Contest on Korea and Korean Culture

We are pleased to announce the winners of the First RCKC Essay Contest on Korea and Korean Culture. We have awarded cash prizes to the top six essayists. The other nine essayists will receive certificates of achievement and their essays will be included in an edited book (along with the six cash-prize-winning essays). The winners are as follows:

First Prize ($700):
Jiwoon Kristine Choi, Amherst College
Second Prize ($400):
Hae Joo Kim, Wesleyan University
Third Prize ($200):
Tamar Herman, Queens College, Macaulay Honors College
Laura Becker, Wheaton College
Esther Whang, University of Michigan
Christopher Ji-Hwan Joo, Boston University
Certificates of Achievement:
Audrey Jung-hyun Joo, Boston University
Andy Kim, Cornell University
Tom Spontak, Queens College
Dora Zhang, University of Chicago
Xinyu Zhang, CUNY Graduate Center
Sarah Pyun, Wellesley College
Nikkia Lewis, Queens College
Jaehan Jeong, Baruch College, Macaulay Honors College
You Gene Kim, CUNY Graduate Center

We would like to thank the Korea Society and Korean Cultural Service New York for offering financial support for this essay contest. Congratulations to all of the winners! As mentioned earlier, all of the winners will also receive certificates of achievement and their essays will be featured in an edited book and on our Korean American Data Bank.


Lecture on Joseonjok/Korean-Chinese Held at KCS on June 19, 2014

Joseonjok KCS Lecture photo June 19 2014

On Thursday, June 19, 2014, Pyong Gap Min presented a lecture based on his paper "Ethnic Attachment among Korean-Chinese in New York City" as part of our ongoing lecture series. This presentation was held at the Korean Community Services (KCS) Auditorium, 35-56 159th Street, Flushing, NY 11358, from 6:30 PM to 8:30 PM. Between thirty and forty people attended the lecture, which was the 25th in our ongoing seminar series. The discussion after the conclusion of the lecture was particularly interesting. In response to Professor Min's lecture, Leslie Bai, a Korean-Chinese resident of New York City and the Director of the Korea Center at Long Island University, also shared her thoughts and experiences. Additionally, many staff members of the Korean American League for Civic Action (KALCA) were in attendance.

Professor Min's paper examines twice-migrant Koreans from China (Joseonjok/조선족) who now reside in New York City, and their ethnic attachment to Korean immigrants and to South Korea, using personal interviews and census data. Findings show that the Korean-Chinese informants maintain a high level of Korean cultural ethnic attachment, but have little social attachment to either Korean or Chinese immigrants because of a tendency to associate with other members of their own subgroup. Although they have strong Korean ethnic identity, unlike most Korean immigrants (whose ethnic identity focuses on and originates from their South Korean homeland), Joseonjok identify more with Joseon (the last Korean dynasty before the peninsula was divided into North and South Korea). The predominant majority of the Joseonjok informants would cheer for the Chinese team in a hypothetical soccer game between China and Korea, reflecting their strong loyalty to China as opposed to their ethnic ancestral homeland. 


2014 Conference Photo Cropped 

On Friday, April 25, 2014, the Research Center for Korean Community at Queens College hosted its Fifth Annual Conference. This year's international conference was co-organized by RCKC, the Central Hub Project Group for Korean Diaspora Studies at Korea University in Korea, and the Research Foundation for Korean Community.

The theme of this year's conference was "Korean Communities in Major Overseas Korean Population Centers." Scholars from around the globe gave presentations on Korean diasporic communities in the United States (New York, New Jersey, Los Angeles, Chicago), Canada (Toronto), Australia (Sydney), China (Shenyang, Beijing, the Yanbian Autonomous Korean Prefecture), and Japan (Tokyo, Osaka). Jun Choi, the former mayor of Edison, New Jersey, gave a very engaging and articulate keynote address on the changing characteristics of the Korean-American community and the need for the community to work together in order to have a political voice. The presentations on Korean communities in the United States, Canada, and Australia were given in English, while those on Korean communities in China and Japan were given in Korean.

Those in attendance, including members of the Consulate General of the Republic of Korea in New York and the local Korean media, stated that the conference was a success. We would like to thank everyone who participated, attended, and helped out with the conference, including the individuals and businesses who supported the conference by advertising in the conference program. We would also like to express special thanks to Queens College for providing facilities and media equipment. 


Professor Edward T. Chang of UC Riverside Presented Lecture at KCS on March 19, 2014

Edward Chang Lecture Pic 1

On March 19, 2014,Professor Edward Taehan Chang of the University of California at Riverside gave a presentation at the Korean Community Services (KCS) Auditorium, 35-56 159th Street, Flushing, NY 11358. Professor Chang gave a very interesting lecture, and thirty people attended his presentation on the second-generation Korean-American war hero, humanitarian, and global citizen, Colonel Young Oak Kim. Those in attendance responded very positively to Professor Chang's talk.

The presentation, which was part of the Research Center for Korean Community's ongoing lecture series, focused on the book, Unsung Hero: The Story of Col. Young Oak Kimwhich was written in Korean by Woo Sung Han and translated into English by Edward Taehan Chang. Colonel Young Oak Kim was a highly-decorated U.S. Army combat veteran, having fought in World War II and the Korean War. Born in Los Angeles, California in 1919, Colonel Kim received 19 medals and awards from the U.S., France, Italy, and South Korea, including the Distinguished Service Cross, two Silver Stars, three Purple Hearts, the Légion d'honneur, and the Korean Taeguk Cordon of the Order of Military Merit. In addition to his military accomplishments, Colonel Kim was also an active humanitarian and he supported and founded numerous Asian-American civic organizations. Colonel Kim was initially excluded from the U.S. Military due to discriminatory laws, but he was drafted into the military in 1941, shortly after U.S. Congress enacted a law subjecting Asian Americans to conscription. He commanded and fought alongside Japanese-American troops in the 100th Infantry Battalion, despite the hostile history between Koreans and the Japanese, claiming that they were all Americans and that they were going to fight the war together. Colonel Kim passed away at the age of 86 on December 29, 2005, of complications from cancer, but his legacy lives on through his accomplishments, the Korean-American research center that bears his name at UC Riverside, and his biography.

Professor Edward Taehan Chang is an Ethnic Studies professor and founding director of the Young Oak Kim Center for Korean American Studies at UC Riverside. He earned his B.A. (1982) in Sociology at UC Berkeley, his M.A. (1984) in Asian American Studies at UCLA, and his Ph.D. (1990) in Ethnic Studies at UC Berkeley. Professor Chang is considered as one of the foremost interpreters of the Los Angeles civil unrest and race relations, and he is the author of four books, four edited volumes, and numerous articles.

Edward Chang Lecture Pic 2

Yung Duk Kim Birthday Cake Photo

On Saturday, March 1, 2014, a surprise party was held at Kum Gang San, a Korean restaurant in downtown Flushing, for Dr. Kim's 80th birthday. In Korean culture, the 60th, 70th, and 80th birthdays are significant milestones, and tradition dictates that a large celebration is thrown to celebrate reaching these auspicious ages. Before the advent of modern medicine, this large birthday celebration, or hwan-gap janchi (환갑잔치), was held on the 60th birthday. One reason is that life expectancy was significantly lower back then, and few people actually lived to see their 60th birthday. Another reason that 60 was considered an auspicious year is that it takes 60 years for one's Eastern zodiac animal and the element under which one is born to align. However, since it is no longer uncommon for individuals to reach age 60, the type of special celebration associated with hwan-gap janchi is now widely celebrated on one's 70th (칠순) and 80th (팔순) birthdays. 

Along with Mr. Chung Kong Rhee and other friends of Yung Duk Kim, two of Dr. Kim's children also helped to host and organize this surprise party, which was attended by approximately 100 people.

Dr. Kim has worked tirelessly for Korean-American community empowerment. Even though he is now retired, he works full-time, seven days a week, to help the Korean-American community. In addition to being a board member at Korean American Civic Empowerment (KACE), he is President of the Korean Language Association, a board member for the Korean American League for Civil Action (KALCA), and a board member and an executive committee member of the Korea Society. He was also instrumental in organizing grassroots activities in proposing H.Res. 121 (the Comfort Women Resolution) to U.S. Congress in 2007. In 2010, Dr. Kim founded Research Foundation for Korean Community, a non-profit organization that supports our Research Center in a variety of ways. He serves as Chair of the Board of Directors for RFKC. Elder Hae Min Chung, who joined the organization in 2011, is President of the Research Foundation for Korean Community.

Once again, Happy Birthday to Dr. Yung Duk Kim!

Yung Duk Kim Birthday Group Photo 


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