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Jacques Fuqua Jr.
East Asian Studies Center

George Wilson
East Asian Studies Center

Last modified: Wednesday, January 30, 2002

East Asian center receives major funding

The East Asian Studies Center at Indiana University has received nearly $2 million in funding from the Freeman Foundation Undergraduate Funding Initiative for Asian Studies.

The four-year grant of $1.9 million covers a variety of programs under the theme of "Communicating East Asia," said EASC Director George Wilson.

"This funding will help us accomplish a major goal of fostering a more global view in our students by teaching them about East Asian cultures, traditions and societies and the impact of that cultural heritage on our own," Wilson said. "In the terrible aftermath of September 11, the development of skills involving communication across cultures is something we need more than ever. This becomes a key objective for us as we prepare students to work in the global economy of the 21st century."

The grant will support a variety of activities, including (1) funding new faculty in the School of Education, the Kelley School of Business and the College of Arts and Sciences, (2) bringing guest lecturers to the School of Journalism, (3) increasing overseas study and internship opportunities for undergraduate students related to East Asia, (4) enhancing ongoing community outreach and K-12 educational programs and developing new distance learning programs in the Midwest, (5) initiating new courses on East Asia for undergraduate non-majors, and (6) supporting activities at the Japan House and creating both a China House and a Korea House, all on the IU Bloomington campus.

Wilson said the funding continues the strong relationship between EASC and the Freeman Foundation that has been developed over the past five years through a series of outreach grants.

"This program will generate new interest for IU undergraduates in learning about East Asia," Wilson said. "It should also yield new learning opportunities and lead to renewed activities involving East Asia. Taken together, the new faculty hires, courses and visitors will broaden our approach to educating undergraduates about East Asia."

East Asian Studies has experienced rapid expansion at IU over the past decade. Three new faculty positions were established between 1999 and 2001 that enabled the Department of East Asian Languages and Cultures to add such new courses as political economy and film studies. There are bachelor's degree tracks in languages and literature, and in area studies.

Approximately 300 students have a concentration in East Asian course work. Last fall, IU reported some 1,900 undergraduates enrolled in one or more East Asia-related courses. Programs are available with universities in Japan, China and Korea.