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Queens College Launches "Year of Korea" with Free Screening of 2016 Fim on Korean "Comfort Women"

--Film Director Cho Junglae Will Present This Groundbreaking Work; Other Events Including Korean Folklore Festival Will Spotlight Korea’s History, Art, and Culture

FLUSHING, NY, September 26, 2016 – Queens College’s “Year of Korea” opens on September 29 with the screening of a film that made news in Korea: Spirits’ Homecoming recounts the plight of War World II Korean “comfort women” forced into brothels by the Japanese.

Among the many other free events planned throughout the academic year are the annual Korean Folklore Festival, moving from Flushing Meadows-Corona Park to the college’s Flushing campus; a talk on Korean pop music; a concert featuring a new composition about Korean refugees, a performance of traditional Korean dance and music; “Taste of Korea” for food-lovers; a dialogue with Korean adoptees, and a reading and lecture by critically acclaimed Korean American novelist Patricia Park. In addition, the college is partnering with Flushing Town Hall to promote three Korean performances this winter.

Below are highlights of the events planned so far. For more details and updates, visit the Year of Korea website at

Thursday, September 29, 11:30 am - 3:00 pm, Room 230 of the Benjamin Rosenthal Library:
Korean Comfort Women: Lecture and Viewing of the 2016 film Spirits’ Homecoming with Director Cho Junglae. QC Professor Pyong Gap Min, Distinguished Professor of Sociology and Director of the Research Center for Korean Community who is writing a book on the redress movement for the comfort women victims, will speak before the film screening.

Spirits’ Homecoming, a fictional depiction of the story of the Korean women forced to become sex slaves in Japanese military brothels during World War II, made news in Korea and New York during its production (read the story here).  Although the governments of Japan and Korea recently reached resolution of the “comfort women” issue, the movement for redress continues in Korea. It took film director Cho Junglae ten years to complete his film with funding from the public. The film, which debuted last February, was a box office success. A second screening of the film will be held October 3 at 3 pm in Kiely Hall, Room 170.

Saturday, Oct. 29 and Sunday, October 30, 10 am to 9 pm Queens College Parking Lot #14:
Annual Korean Thanksgiving and Folklore Festival (Chooseok Daejanchi). Often compared to America’s Thanksgiving, this two-day festival established in 1983 by the Korean Produce Association has grown into the largest annual Korean festival held in the New York-New Jersey area. About 100,000 visitors attended at its former location in Flushing Meadows-Corona Park, drawn to the traditional and contemporary music/dance performances, authentic cuisine, Korean wrestling competition, taekwondo demonstration, traditional wedding ceremony, and many other Korean folklore cultural events.

Wednesday, October 17
, 5:30-7 pm, LOCATION TBD:
Korean Pop Music presentation by Professor Yongwoo Lee, New York University, Department of East Asian Studies. Professor Lee is currently working on a book, Embedded Voices in Between Empires: The Cultural Formation of Korean Popular Music in Modern Times.
Special Sponsor: Academy of Korean Studies
Monday, November 14 and Wednesday, November 16, 12:15 -1:30 pm, Campbell Dome:
Taste of Korea: Authentic Korean Food and Global Korean Food
Nov. 14: Lecture on authentic Korean food by Professor Sung Eun Choi (QC Dept. of Family Nutrition, and Exercise Sciences) and tasting of local Korean restaurant food.
Nov. 16: Lecture on globalized Korean food by Chef Jeffrey Moon, internationally renowned Korean-American chef and Lead Chef-Instructor at the International Culinary Center. This Event includes food tasting. Special Sponsor: Academy of Korean Studies
Saturday, December 10, 8 pm, Colden Auditorium:
Amnok River, a new work for chorus and orchestra about North Korean refugees. David Schober, director of QC’s famed Aaron Copland School of Music, has composed a piece for 150 performers that tells the courageous stories of North Korean refugees who have escaped into China. “I feel strongly about sharing the stories of those who have sought freedom in the shadow of a regime known for its belligerence and nuclear ambition,” says Schober. This “musical reflection” conveys a message of hope similar to Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony, which will also be performed at the Queens College Choral Society’s Annual Winter Concert that evening.
Wednesday, February 1, 2017, 12:15- 1:30 pm, Campbell Dome:
Lecture on Korean Educational System Influences in U.S. with principal Haemi Cho from Democracy Prep, a leading charter school, and Professor Pyong Gap Min
Part I: Professor Pyong Gap Min will present on the Korean language movement in public schools in New York and New Jersey.
Part II: Principal Haemi Cho will talk about Democracy Prep School, which was founded in Harlem in 2006 and was recognized as the best charter school in New York City in 2010. Cho, as well as school teachers and parents, believe that the adoption of the Korean educational system has helped students change their attitudes and focus on achieving high academic standards.     
Special Sponsor: Academy of Korean Studies  
Wednesday, February 22, 12:15-2:30 pm, Campbell Dome:
Panel on Prospects for Korean Unification with guest speakers Dr. Charles Armstrong, Professor of Korean Studies at Columbia University; and NK Refugee.
Special Sponsor: Academy of Korean Studies  
Wednesday, March 1, 7:30 pm, LeFrak Concert Hall:
Korean Traditional Music and Dance Institute of New York (KTMDI)—introducing the Queens College community to the beauty and elegance of Korean dance. KTMDI, founded in 1987 as the first established Korean performing arts organization in New York City, specializes in teaching and performing Korean traditional music and dance. The group strives, in its words, “to play the role of an unofficial diplomat, and share and preserve Korea's rich and vibrant culture with Korean Americans as well as the surrounding community.”
Wednesday, April 1, 12:15-1:30 pm, Campbell Dome:
A Dialogue on Korean Adoptees’ Experiences.
Two Korean adoptees and a parent will comprise a panel to discuss Korean adoptee experiences. Numbering 120,000, this ethnic group comprises the largest adoptee group in the U.S.  The majority of them were adopted by American parents in the 1960s and 1980s when Korea was one of the poorest countries in the world. The American parent panelist is Queens College staff member Stuart J Schaffer, who has adopted a Korean child. Korean adoptees’ adjustment and identity-formation difficulties, as well as the racial discrimination they encountered, will be addressed.
Monday, May 1, 12:15-1:30, Campbell Dome:
Korean American author Patricia Park reads from her acclaimed debut novel, Re Jane.
Named a New York Times Book Review 2015 Editors’ Choice and called “sweet and savvy” by Kirkus Reviews, the book focuses on a young Korean-American woman who grapples with issues of identity, family, and love. It’s a clever take on the Victorian novel Jane Eyre, observed critics—but this time, the main character is a Korean-American orphan from Flushing, Queens. Park herself grew up in Queens and was a Fulbright Scholar to South Korea.

For directions to Queens College and a campus map, visit:
BACKGROUND: Queens College “Year Of” Initiative
Each year since 2010, Queens College has offered cultural and academic programming focused on a different nation or region (China, Turkey, India, Brazil, South Africa, The Silk Roads, and now, Korea). Named the “Year Of” program, this initiative reflects Queens College’s mission to serve and educate the college community about today’s global community and, with students from more than 150 nations, celebrate QC with pride as one of America’s most culturally diverse colleges.

Why Year Of Korea?
Once one of the poorest countries in the world, South Korea has emerged as a major economic power, ranking 11th in GDP in 2016.  There is a thriving Korean community in the New York-New Jersey area with about 250,000 Korean Americans--the third largest Asian group, after Chinese and Asian Indians. Korean immigrants have established the largest Korean enclave in Flushing where Queens College is located.
About Queens College
Queens College of the City University of New York enjoys a national reputation for its liberal arts and sciences and pre-professional programs. With its graduate and undergraduate degrees, honors programs, and research and internship opportunities, the college helps its more than 20,000 students realize their potential in countless ways, assisted by an accessible, award-winning faculty. Located on a beautiful 80-acre campus in Flushing, the college is cited each year by the Princeton Review as one of the nation’s 100 “Best Value” colleges, thanks to its outstanding academics, generous financial aid packages, and relatively low costs.

Learn more at


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