By Senior Editorial Writer Dr. Kim Jong-min
On March 31, an academic conference was held to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the birth of Mr. Kim Joon-yeop, former president of Korea University, and the opening of the Center for Middle East and Islamic Studies(CMEIS) of the Institute of Asian Studies. It is significant that a prestigious University opened its doors to Middle East studies amidst the second Middle East boom. The event was attended by Dr. Dong-won Kim, President of Korea University, the Ambassador of Qatar to Korea and the Director of the Saudi Arabia Cultural Center, and many other researchers, students and citizens also participated.
President Kim said, "It seems a little late, but in order for Korea University to leap into a prestigious world, I will actively support our University to play a leading role with a sense of mission to look far into the future and understand and study the Middle East, Arab, and Islamic areas".
Mr.Khalid Ibrahim Hamar, Ambassador of Qatar, who delivered the keynote speech, said, “Qatar is a world-class mediator and is especially devoted to education. I emphasize that I will expect cooperation with the prestigious Korea University in many fields in the future”. Dr. Abdulaziz al-Dail, head of the Saudi Arabia Cultural Center in Korea, also said in a congratulatory speech, "I hope that Korea University’s Center for Middle East and Islamic Studies will strive to build proper knowledge and sound understanding in a situation where false speculative opinions are rampant. And the opening of the center today means active exchanges and expansion between Korea and Arab countries, and it is meaningful that the conference will be held in Ramadan.'.
The conference was a place to look back on the current status of research on the Middle East, Arab and Islam over the past 60 years in Korea and discuss what to study for the next 60 years. Four papers were presented at this conference, which are summarized as follows.
Dr. Lee Hee-soo, director of the Institute of Islamic Culture at Sungkonghoe University, suggested reflections and suggestions on Middle East studies in the past 50 years in the topic of 'Research Status and Challenges of Middle Eastern Studies in Korea', and said, 'Korean Middle East studies have played such a social role as practical and alternative regional studies. It should be highly appreciated for its active contribution to And we must create a climate that organically connects and inherits the academic tradition and permanence of critically reading and upgrading the studies of predecessors.”.
In the absence of research on Islamic law, Myoung Soon-koo, a professor at Law school at Korea University, presented a paper of ‘What and how should we recognize the laws of an Islamic society? - From the perspective of private law-’. He made a clear distinction between law of Islam society and Islamic law, which are mostly confused. In addition, he said that Egypt, Turkey, and Iran have played a leading role in the laws of Islamic societies, and that from a comparative legal perspective, customs, ideologies and religions are mixed and compounded. In particular, it was concluded that the Islamic element is not the same as the role of pepper in the field of civil law.
Dr. Park Hyon-do of Institute of Euromena at Sogang University, in his presentation in the title of 'The current state of Islam in the West and our challenges,' evaluated that domestic Islamic studies have yet to take their first steps compared to those in the West, and that they did not understand the academic discourse of Western Islamic studies. He pointed out that even a little unfamiliar research showed a biased attitude by denigrating it as 'Orientalism'. In the future, it was argued that the most basic data should be secured through primary history education and secondary data research, and in-depth research should be conducted through reinforcement of original source education and history education.
Lastly, Dr. Kim Jong-do, director of Center for Middle East and Islamic Studies at Korea University, introduced that 200 papers related to Middle East, Arab and Islam were published in the paper titled 'Current Status and Tasks of Korea University's Middle East, Arab and Islamic Studies - Focusing on Master's and Doctoral Dissertations-'. Now, he said that the mission of the times was given to Korea University to study unexplored fields and foundations by weaving them well, and that the opening of major courses and the securing of researchers were most urgent than anything else. DR. Kim, who served as the first director of the center, said, “As the opening of this center spreads around the world, love calls from related embassies, universities, and research institutes continue. With a humble attitude, I will create an opportunity to upgrade domestic Middle East studies through collaboration with related research institutes in Korea.”. He expressed his feelings, saying, “I will run with a long breath so that Center for Middle East and Islam of Korea University can be evaluated as having made a big mark in this field in the distant future.”