Campus & Community

Korea Institute receives grant for development of programs

3 min read

The Northeast Asian History Foundation (NEAHF) in Seoul, Korea, has awarded a grant of $1 million over a five-year period to the Early Korea Project at the Korea Institute, Harvard University.

Established in late 2006 at Harvard’s Korea Institute, the Early Korea Project was designed as a means to develop the severely underrepresented fields of early Korean history and archaeology in the English language. The mission of the project is to build a viable foundation for the development of early Korea studies through a variety of programs. By forging extensive working networks with scholars in Korea and elsewhere, the project seeks to introduce scholarly research that responds to actual needs among Western scholars and actively engages those scholars in the process.

Initial start-up funding from the Korea Foundation and the Academy of Korean Studies allowed the project to build its organizational infrastructure and to commence its programmatic base in the form of a series of lectures at Harvard in the spring of 2007. The core of the Early Korea Project are its workshop and publications programs, which are designed to produce English-language scholarship on early Korea and make it broadly available in print and electronic media. The grant provided by NEAHF will make these essential programs possible.

The NEAHF was established in September 2006 under the South Korean Ministry of Education. Under the direction of NEAHF President Kim Yongdeok GSAS ’79, it is a research-based organization that focuses on the study of historical matters of importance to the broader East Asian region. The foundation sponsors and organizes academic conferences and has published many volumes of scholarly research and reference materials related to Korean history, including a number on early Korea.

Among the many goals of the foundation is the promotion of scholarly research and publications on Korean history in foreign languages. Its Program for Research on Early Korean History was designed to support precisely the range of activities that comprise the core programs of the Early Korea Project, and on Oct. 1, 2007, the foundation awarded the $1 million grant to the Early Korea Project to achieve these mutual objectives over a five-year period.

NEAHF grant funds are to be directed toward the implementation of the workshop and publications programs of the Early Korea Project. The workshop program will involve at least five yearlong projects, in which a team of specialists will craft a coherent series of presentations on a selected historical topic. By the end of the initial grant period, four or five volumes are expected to provide the beginnings of a firm foundation for continued academic research on early Korean history and archaeology in the English language.

The Early Korea Project plans two publication series — the first being an academic journal titled “Early Korea,” and the second an “Occasional Series” of scholarly collections and monographs.

To commemorate the start of what is expected to be a productive relationship between Harvard and the Northeast Asian History Foundation, Kim visited Harvard Wednesday (Feb. 6) for an inaugural signing ceremony with David Cutler, dean for the social sciences in the Faculty of Arts and Sciences, at University Hall. Kim also presented a lecture on the day of his visit titled “Perceptions of Japan in Korean History — Moving Toward an Understanding.”