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 


Colloquium on Korean "Comfort Women" Held at Rosenthal Library at Queens College on February 26, 2014

 Min Comfort Women Colloquium Photo

The Queens College Women & Gender Studies Program organized a colloquium on Korean "Comfort Women," which was held on Wednesday, February 26, 2014 from 12:15 PM to 2:00 PM at the Rosenthal Library at Queens College. The colloquium, titled "Comfort Women: Truth Be Known!" featured a poetry reading and a performance of excerpts of a play about Korean "Comfort Women" by Chungmi Kim, and a lecture about the emergence of "Comfort Women" issues in South Korea by Pyong Gap Min. Kim and Min also participated in a Question & Answer session following their respective presentations.

This colloquium focused on Korean "Comfort Women," who were forced into sexual slavery by the Japanese military during World War II. The timing of this colloquium was fitting, as tensions over this issue between South Korea and Japan have been widely publicized in the media recently. Nearly fifty people attended this colloquium, and we were very pleased with the turnout and the enthusiasm of the audience.

Pyong Gap Min is a Distinguished Professor of Sociology and Director of the Research Center for Korean Community at Queens College.

Chungmi Kim is the author of two poetry books, an Emmy-nominated documentary, and an award-winning screenplay, The Dandelion. She enacted scenes from her play, Comfort Women, which focuses on the women forced into sexual slavery by the Japanese military during World War II.

This colloquium was co-sponsored by the Division of Student Affairs, the Research Center for Korean Community, and the Division of Social Sciences. Hyeon-ji Lee, a senior at Queens College, came up with the idea for this colloquium.

Chungmi Kim Comfort Women Colloquium



RCKC's Pyong Gap Min and RFKC's Mikwang Hwang Receive Awards from KAAGNY

Dr. Mikwang Hwang Award Photo

On January 13, 2014, Professor Pyong Gap Min, the Director of our Center, and Dr. Mikwang Hwang, a board member of the Research Foundation for Korean Community,received awards from the Korean American Association of Greater New York (KAAGNY).

The Korean American Association of Greater New York had a gala on January 13 to celebrate Korean American Day (designated as such by Congress in 2005) and the 54th anniversary of its foundation. January 13 was the date in 1903 when the first group (over 100) of Korean pioneer immigrants arrived in Hawaii to work on sugar plantations. More than 600 people, including about 200 Korean adoptees and their American parents, participated in the gala. Pyong Gap Min was selected as one of the three recipients of the Public Interest Development Award, while Mikwang Hwang was one of the four recipients of the Honorary Service Award. KAAGNY seems to have selected Min mainly because of his contribution to the Korean community with data and information about Korean Americans through the Research Center for Korean Community. Research Foundation for Korean Community is a non-profit Korean community organization founded in 2010 by Dr. Yung Duk Kim and other Korean community leaders to provide financial support for the Research Center for Korean Community. Dr. Mikwang Hwang is one of the active leaders of the Research Foundation.

We would like to congratulate Professor Min and Dr. Hwang for receiving these awards.

Min Award Photo January 2014 


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