Friends of Korea
The Sigur Center created the initiative called the Friends of Korea Studies as part of its stepped up outreach on Korea Studies. The initiative was launched in December 2007 with an exclusive reception and commentary for business, community, academia and government leaders. The discussion focused on "Challenges and Prospects for the KORUS FTA" and featured well-known experts on the Korean economy and trade relations, Yoon Shik Park, Professor at GWU's School of Business, and Jeffrey Schott, Fellow at the Peterson Institute for International Economics, moderated by GW's Professor Young-Key Kim-Renaud, Chair of the East Asian Languages & Literatures Department.
With the Friends of Korea Studies effort, the Center hopes to raise additional resources to continue enhancing its reputation as one of the country's leading policy research forums on contemporary Korea, and expand existing programs and activities. High level symposia, policy dialogues, featured speakers from business, government and community groups, a broad range of scholarly and policy research activities including specialized lecture series, visiting fellows and student scholarships — we envision an even more active and wider spectrum of activities in the future.
GW-Korea Ties: Strong and Longstanding
The George Washington University has played an important role in the relations between Korea and the United States, beginning with early alumni from Korea. GWU alumnus Philip Jaisohn (So Chae-p'il), a celebrated Korean reformer and activist, was the first Korean to receive a medical degree in the United States. Syngman Rhee, the first President of the Republic of Korea, received his B.A. degree from GWU in 1907, a Distinguished Alumni Achievement Award in 1949, and an honorary degree (LL.D.) in 1954. This connection has continued — Roh Tae Woo, the 13th President of the Republic of Korea (1988-1993), received an honorary degree in 1989. Executives of the largest Korean companies, such as Hyundai, Dae Woo and Samsung either studied at GWU, earned degrees, or were recipients of honorary degrees. President Lee Myung-bak spent a year and a half as a visiting scholar at the George Washington University. The Elliott School has a strong exchange partnership with Ewha Women's University in Seoul, and the Sigur Center is committed to continuing that relationship.