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Message from the Director

SooJin Park | Director of SNUAC

“With consilient research beyond the walls of disciplines, SNUAC will grow into
a global hub of Asian studies that presents measures for problems of our time.”

The year 2020 will be remembered as a year that we desperately witnessed the rapid changes in the world around us. The COVID-19 pandemic which continues to this day is acting as a great variable in the changes in global economic order and integration of the market, homogenization of sociocultural phenomena due to information technology, and the stance and status of Korea in its response. Such rapid changes of the world are posing challenges and opportunities for research institutes at higher educational institutions that have found their raison d’être in interpreting social changes and presenting appropriate measures to evaluate their own capacities. Especially as we witnessed all countries responding differently according to their regional, historical and sociocultural specificities, we once again became keenly aware of the necessity for a systematic understanding and comparison of the Asian region.

It was in the mid-2000s when new opportunities and issues started to emerge along with Asia’s rise as a new power in world politics, economy and culture, that the establishment of Asia Center began to be pursued. In the background of globalization and the advent of the Asian era and with the dedication of members of the SNU community as well as enthusiastic support from the government, Seoul National University Asia Center finally set sail in 2009. Afterward, SNUAC built an independent building which is unusual for a research institute within a university, secured the research budget for expanding the base of Asian studies, and procured 15 HK professors and research professors as the institute was selected as the HK+ research institute for overseas regions (‘Mega-Asia and Asias: Identities, Dynamics, Data-Telling) by the Ministry of Education in 2020. With independent space and funds for research as well as full-time researchers, SNUAC has prepared the foundation for realizing its vision of “reforming itself as a research institute combining regional and thematic research and as the world’s top 3 hubs of Asian studies”.

Within SNUAC, six regional centers and eight thematic centers are being operated. As a measure to effectively integrate regions and themes, we are emphasizing the collection and management of regional information, which is taken up by Korea Social Science Data Archive (KOSSDA) and Asia Regional Information Center (ARIC). SNUAC seeks to suggest measures for socioeconomic issues faced by this era, based on systematic basic research and data collection on the Asian region. Also, withholding the belief that “new knowledge is only created from sharing and cooperating beyond the walls of disciplines”, SNUAC is striving to dismantle the various walls that exist between disciplines, colleges and academic organizations, and in universities and society.

SNUAC takes it upon itself to become a hub for regional research where all knowledges can converge around Asian regional studies. The process will be slow and at times lacking. We ask for your constant participation in the process, looking over our journey and joining us with warm encouragement and advice.

Thank you.

SooJin Park
Director of SNUAC