UCLan launches International Institute of Korean Studies

Professor Hazel Smith, Director of IKSU (left) [Picture: uclan.ac.uk]
UCLan has launched an International Institute of Korean Studies (IKSU), after a two-day international conference on Korea as the link to East Asian peace and security.

The integrative and innovative hub of research, teaching and public policy in the study of contemporary Korea is the UK’s third provider of an undergraduate programme in Korean Studies.

The IKSU, based in the School of Language, Literature and International Studies, brings together the University’s wide research expertise from North Korean global politics in context of East Asian safety, to traditional Korean music and sports.

The conference has seen over 30 of the world’s leading experts and influencers examining and generating new ideas and fresh approaches to the North Korean conundrum.

They also debated a wide range of security issues ranging from nuclear weapons to food, and other matters related to East Asia.

Key speakers included former United States Ambassador to South Korea, Donald P. Gregg, who was also national security advisor to the US President George Bush when he was Ronald Reagan’s vice-president.

It also saw researchers Dr Georgy Toloroya and Professor Ruediger Frank, who both currently live and work in North Korea.

The conference was organised in collaboration with the UK’s senior parliamentarian working on Korea issues, Lord David Alton, the Chair of the House of Lords all-Party group on Korea.

Director of IKSU, Professor Hazel Smith, said: “IKSU takes contemporary Korea – North and South – seriously. We will be getting away from the tired old stereotypes to engage in robust, careful research about the politics, economics and society of North Korea.”

She added, “We will also focus on the vibrant culture and economic dynamism that characterises contemporary South Korea, as well as the politics and international dynamics of inter-Korean relations.”

IKSU will launch Europe’s first Master’s Degree in North Korean Studies next year. But, in addition to the teaching of academic programmes in Korean Studies, IKSU will have many other features.

The University has a long-standing relationship with Samsung via its product design programme, and the IKSU now aims to encourage more Korean businesses to explore further the entrepreneurial talent that exists throughout the North West.

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