Until the end of the 1980s, the major focus of research in East Asian Studies was given to Japanese and Chinese Studies, and scholars had been carrying out research in Korean Studies only sporadically. However, Korean Studies in Australia and New Zealand has gained momentum since the late 1980s, and universities and high schools have revised their curricula to reflect the changes in research attention. As Korea became an important trading partner for Australia, Korean Studies in various areas gained recognition in importance and rapidly expanded its profile in Australia and New Zealand. The initial enthusiasm however, cooled down somewhat after the first 10 years.
Hence, to provide systematic and strategic support leading towards the new millennium, The Korea Research Institute at the University of New South Wales (KRI@UNSW) began its operation as the Korea-Australasia Research Centre (KAREC) in June 2000. Its major aims include establishing cooperative research networks among scholars in Korean studies and Korea related research, conducting research projects on important pending issues in the region, and contributing to policy formation in the related areas. In 2010, KAREC has become the Korea Research Institute (KRI)@UNSW. UNSW is one of the most innovative and forward looking universities in Oceania and Southeast Asia, with an excellent research and academic environment. UNSW is equipped with a well-developed program for research and teaching in Korean Studies and Korean language.
In 2006, KRI@UNSW has been selected by The Korean Ministry of Education and the Academy of Korean Studies (AKS) to become the leading research and education hub for Korean studies in Oceania and South East Asia, after being officially endorsed by the Korean government.
The Korean Ministry of Education and the Academy of Korean Studies (AKS) has given funding and official recognition to only four overseas universities. The three others are UCLA, University of London and the University of Washington, Seattle.
KRI@UNSW is a non-profit research institution established through the joint efforts of the Korea Research Foundation and the University of New South Wales. It aims to conduct and support research into all areas of Korean Studies in Australia, New Zealand and Southeast Asia including examining the relationship between Korea and Australasia, which incorporates the Southeast Asian region. The Centre also supports researchers and interest groups through a range of valuable programs, including scholarships. To support socio-cultural, political and economic exchanges in the regions, KRI@UNSW provides professional consulting and unique training programs for those involved in the exchanges.
Support and Network
Consulting and Professional Training
The University of New South Wales
The University of New South Wales is one of the largest institutions in Australasia, with more than 40,000 students and more than 2,000 teaching staff members, and 78 research institutions. UNSW is recognised as the best and the most innovative university in Australia by wider communities, and over the past 10 years UNSW has invariably received the largest amount of competitive research grants from the Australian Government.
Thanks to a multicultural policy, many active exchange programs for students and staff members have been developed between UNSW and institutions in Asia. This helped the development of the largest pool of researchers in Korea-related areas at UNSW as well as among Australia, New Zealand and Southeast Asia.
The Academy of Korean Studies
The Academy of Korean Studies was founded with the objects of "studying the essence of Korean culture for establishing the base for new creation with independent historical views and a sound sense of values, seeking the basic principles of future Korea to raise and restore the spirit of the Korean people, and creating and developing Korean culture."
To achieve these objects, the Academy has steadily carried out various projects such as academic research on Korean culture, publishing and translating Korean classics, supporting and cooperating with domestic and international education and research institutions, co-researching and publishing with prominent scholars outside, training Korean studies researchers, and publishing and distributing research materials.
KRI@UNSW has established relationships with many companies operating in the region, especially in the area of Korea-Australasia relations.
KRI@UNSW has a wide network with various research institutions, universities and organisations related to Korea and Korean Studies. This includes centres for Australian Studies and those concerned with Australia-Southeast relations.