By Connor Adams Sheets
Queens College unveiled its new Research Center for the Korean Community Friday, the first of its kind in the United States.
The center at the school’s campus in Flushing, home to the largest Korean-American population in the borough, was established to promote research on the growing number of the country’s immigrants both in the New York area and nationwide.
Attended by the elites of the Korean academic and political worlds, the luncheon featured speakers who laid out the center’s origins and its goals.
“The major activity will be conducting active research, using census data and personal interviews, to track the changing face of the Korean community,” said Pyong Gap Min, a professor and director of the center. “We are going to do lots of research important for the community.”
The center will publish research reports, anthologies and papers on the Korean community and provide opportunities for students, professors and scholars interested in studying issues affecting Koreans such as ethnic identity, child-rearing and elderly care.
The center will also host bi-monthly lectures, offer fellowships for doctoral dissertations and host annual conferences.
Donations by a pair of businessmen who wished to remain anonymous provided the financial opportunity for the center to open, according to Min.
Yong Hwa Ha, president of the Korean-American Association of Greater New York, said New York is the perfect location for the center because more than 500,000 Koreans live in the greater New York area.
“I am confident this community center will take a leading role as the Korean community’s think tank,” said Yong Hwa Ha. “I hope that this research center can lead to a better understanding of the Korean culture and help to form a Korean identity.”
Queens College is also currently offering its first-ever course on Asian-American history, an area of study that will soon be a minor, according to Madhulika Khandelwal, director of the Asian/American Center at the school.
And the Asian/American Center is currently working on a study looking at the impact the Asian-American vote had on last year’s election.
“So many things are happening, and I think Asian Americans are taking their rightful place,” she said.
Reach reporter Connor Adams Sheets by e-mail at email@example.com or by phone at 718-260-4538.