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HONOLULU - Drs. Sung Chul and Daisy Yang of Yongin, South Korea, have pledged $1 million to establish an endowment to support the Drs. Sung Chul Yang and Daisy Lee Yang Lecture Series. Their pledge will support the promotion and advancement of Korean Studies at the Center for Korean Studies at the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa School of Pacific and Asian Studies by creating a lecture series featuring eminent scholars of Korean or Asian affairs.

“The School of Pacific and Asian Studies is very pleased about the generous gift from the Yangs to the Center for Korean Studies,” said Dr. R. Anderson Sutton, School of Pacific and Asian Studies Dean. He continued, “It will enable us to bring very distinguished lecturers to our campus on a regular basis, offering valuable opportunities for our students and faculty in Asian Studies and Pacific Islands Studies to learn more about Korea - its history, its cultural accomplishments, and its dynamic rise in global prominence.”

The Center for Korean Studies is the oldest and largest Korean studies institution outside Korea. Established in 1972, the Center develops and promotes Korean studies internationally. With more than 30 faculty members offering courses or conducting research related to Korea, the Center has by far the largest number of Korean studies scholars in any educational institution outside Korea. As an educational, research, and informational hub for Korean studies in the United States, the Center has served as a support system for students, faculty and the Hawai'i community.

Korean Studies buildingCenter for Korean Studies Director Dr. Sang-Hyop Lee added, “Gifts such as this one enable us to continue growing as an institution for the education of future Koreanists. They also provide crucial support for our programs to broaden knowledge and understanding of Korea and Asia."

Dr. Sung Chul Yang has enjoyed a long and distinguished career in a wide range of leadership and academic positions. These include serving as distinguished professor, Korea University, Seoul; Ambassador  of The Republic of Korea (ROK) to the United States; senior adviser and chairman of the Advisory Committee of the Kim Dae-jung Peace Foundation; and member of the 15th ROK National Assembly. Born and raised in Korea, he earned his BA from Seoul National University, MA from the University of Hawai‘i, and Ph.D. from the University of Kentucky.

"I not only owe a lifelong gratitude to UH Mānoa and the Center for Korean Studies, but to the U.S. government and American people as well,” said Dr. Sung Chul Yang. He added, “At UH as an East-West Center grantee, I learned the importance of intercultural relations and education. Cultural open-mindedness isn’t all I gained at UH. I met my wife, a third-generation Korean-American and for this too am grateful.”  Yang concluded, “We established this endowment to contribute to the building of common ground that our world needs in order to resolve conflict and create a more peaceful world.”

Dr. Daisy Jung Jin Lee was born in North Korea. Her family moved to Hawai‘i and she graduated from McKinley High School.  She earned her BA from the University of Hawai‘i, MS and Ph.D. from the University of Kentucky, and MAT from the University of Louisville. She had a successful career in academia including professorship at Korea University, Hankook University of Foreign Studies, and Kyunggi Open University in Seoul, Korea.

Dr. Lee has served in a variety of community leadership roles including the Superintendent’s Task Force and Advisory Committee on Advance Program, and the Community Advisory Committee for Bilingual Education Program, Jefferson County Board of Education in Louisville, Kentucky. She is the author of Lady Bora from Diamond Mountain, a Korean historical fantasy novel.

To learn more about how you can support the Center for Korean Studies or the School of Pacific and Asian Studies, please contact Senior Director of Development Harriet Cintron at [email protected] or (808) 956-3594.

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The University of Hawaiʻi Foundation, a nonprofit organization, raises private funds to support the University of Hawaiʻi System. The mission of the University of Hawaiʻi Foundation is to unite donors' passions with the University of Hawaiʻi’s aspirations by raising philanthropic support and managing private investments to benefit UH, the people of Hawaiʻi and our future generations