English and Foreign Languages Professor Kathleen Wright to Investigate Korean Culture and Society

PHOTO: Kathleen WrightMIDDLETOWN, N.Y. –SUNY Orange professor Kathleen Wright will spend four weeks this summer investigating Korean culture and society as part of a selective faculty development program sponsored by the East-West Center at the University of Hawaii.

A key component of the East-West Center’s Asian Studies Development Program, the intensive three-week seminar and field study workshop includes one week of lectures and classes at the university’s Honolulu campus prior to a two-week trip to Seoul and South Korea.

Participants will begin the program with an orientation session on May 28, which opens the week-long workshop in Honolulu. However, Wright will actually begin her experience on May 20, utilizing the East-West Center’s resources for an additional week of in-depth studies. The group will travel to Seoul on June 2 for another one-week series of tours and lectures before relocating to Taegu, Korea on June 10. A return trip to Honolulu is set for June 17.

Wright, who has spent time in the country before as a Peace Corps volunteer, was selected from a large pool of faculty applicants from colleges and universities across the country. The trip will also allow Wright to become re-acquainted with the Korean language.

In addition to lectures in Honolulu that will focus on the nature of the Korean language and education system, participants will study Korea’s geography, economy, literature and arts. Once in Seoul, the group will have its classroom work supplemented by tours of the city, the National University’s Art Museum, the National Museum and the National Palaces. The trip’s final leg will include tours of Taegu, Kyongju, Ulsan and Andong.

The purpose of this seminar/field study is to introduce college and university faculty in the humanities and social sciences to Korean culture, literature, art, film, history and contemporary affairs. The program is designed to facilitate the infusion of Korean material into the undergraduate curriculum. Dr. Peter Hershock, ASDP coordinator; Dr. Edward Shultz, interim dean of the University of Hawaii’s School of Hawaiian, Asian and Pacific Studies; and Professor Jungmin Seo, associate director of the ASDP, will coordinate the program.

"I am honored to have been selected for this program,” Wright said. “I’ve been fortunate to have had many wonderful educational experiences to share with the public, my students and my colleagues. I’ve found, through my studies, that I’ve developed a deeper respect for differing peoples and cultures, and that truly enriches my classroom materials and presentations.”

"I plan to incorporate my studies from this workshop into my international literature, contemporary novel and freshman English courses,” Wright added. “I also plan to share my studies with the campus community to enhance understanding of the the multi-cultural world in which we live today.”

A long-time professor in the College’s English and Foreign Languages Department, Wright boasts an impressive resume of accomplishments and experiences. Dedicated to promoting diversity in her teachings, Wright investigated, initiated and planned a new sophomore level course, “International Literature: Non-European,” which has been offered by SUNY Orange every year since 1992. The course includes the literature of Asia, Africa and Latin America.

In addition, she recently developed a Latin American Literature course and organized a 2008 trip to the Yucatan to support the College’s upcoming “Global Initiative: Latin America,” a yearlong investigation into the art, culture, history, literature and politics of Central America, South America and the Caribbean.

She taught English to university students while serving as a Peace Corps volunteer in Korea and has traveled and studied extensively throughout Latin America.

The East-West Center is an education and research organization established by the U.S. Congress in 1960 to strengthen relations and understanding among the peoples and nations of Asia, the Pacific and the United States. The Center serves as a vigorous hub for cooperative research, education and dialogue on critical issues of common concern to the Asia Pacific region and the United States. Funding for the Center comes from the U.S. government, with additional support provided by private agencies, individuals, foundations, corporations and the governments of the region. As a national and regional resource, the Center offers an interdisciplinary research program; dialogue and professional enrichment seminars, and educational programs.

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Mike Albright
Communications Officer
115 South Street
Middletown, NY 10940