Korea/U.S. Immigration Conference Feb. 13 at UH

February 6, 2014

Public Forum Will Draw International Scholars

The long and complex relationship of immigration between Korea and the United States will be the focus on Feb. 13 when the Center for Korean Studies at the University of Hawai‘i hosts an international conference - “Korean Immigration & Multiculturalism” - at the Center’s auditorium from 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.

The conference will bring together an international group of scholars and experts to discuss issues ranging from Korean immigration to the United States through the issue of Korean identity today in the global community.

The conference is particularly timely in view of the recent 2011 Free Trade agreement between the U.S. and the Republic of Korea and it is free and open to the public.

“Immigration transforms peoples’ identity and the way they live,” said Associate Professor Tae-Ung Baik from the William S. Richardson School of Law at UH, one of the conference’s key organizers. “But the identities immigrants have are not all the same. Although there have been efforts to study the development of Korean immigration to the United States, still many gaps are left unfilled.

“From the Korean point of view,” Baik continued, “we always think of the Korean diaspora as one uniform movement, but that is not really the correct approach. So we want to take a look at the different approaches to Korean immigration, the gaps between policy and how people survive between two cultures. Through this conference we hope to discover many unexplored issues.”

The organizing committee also includes Assistant Professor Seunghye Hong from the Myron B. Thompson School of Social Work at UH and UH Foundation Trustee Duk Hee Lee Murabayashi.

Forum moderators include: The Hon. Ronald T.Y. Moon, retired Chief Justice of the Hawai‘i Supreme Court; Ned Shultz, retired professor at UH and former acting dean of the School of Pacific and Asian Studies as well as former chair of the Center for Korean Studies; and Hagen Koo, Professor of Sociology at UH.

Planners have set four goals for the forum:
• Creation of a deeper understanding of Korean immigration and the legal issues that immigration presents.
• Creation of greater comparative understanding of the Korean diaspora and its impact on Koreans as well as their host countries.
• An attempt to fill in the gaps in law and policy between the U.S., Korea, and other nations.
• Testing the implications of Korean immigration on multiculturalism, both in the United States and in Korea.

Background: The first steamship carrying 102 Korean immigrants arrived at Honolulu Harbor on Jan. 13, 1903. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, there were 1,463,474 Koreans residing in the U.S. as of March, 2010.

Conference sponsors include: The Academy of Korean Studies, Republic of Korea; Center for Korean Studies, UHM; William S. Richardson School of Law, UHM; Myron B. Thompson School of Social Work, UHM; Korean American Foundation Hawai‘i; Asia Institute, Osaka University of Economics and Law, Japan; and the Department of Social Welfare, Ewha Womans University, Republic of Korea.


Tae-Ung Baik

Associate Professor of Law
(808) 956-7838