The Republic of Korea's flag will be flying over Cambridge today (Wednesday 5 December 2001) for the first time in the University's history.

The flag will fly from Great St Mary's Church, in honour of the man who made the first steps towards Korean unification, President of the Republic of Korea, Kim Dae-Jung, who will be at the University to receive an honorary degree.

Kim Dae-Jung, who was awarded the Nobel Prize for Peace in 2000, is one of the most significant world leaders of our time and is being honoured for his achievements in one of the most volatile areas of the world.

He has devoted the major part of his life fighting for the establishment of democracy in Korea, surviving kidnap, imprisonment and court martial.

During 1993 the President spent a year in Cambridge, at Clare Hall, planning not only a return to politics but also how best to achieve the eventual unification of his country.

The Vice-Chancellor, Professor Sir Alec Broers, will confer the honorary degree at a traditional ceremony in the University's Senate-House.

The visit marks a further strengthening of the ties between the University and Korea. In 1999 Cambridge agreed to work towards setting up a Centre for Korean Studies.

Professor Richard Bowring, from the Faculty of Oriental Studies, said that Cambridge sees the study of contemporary Korea, as well as Korean language and culture, as a vital element in promoting the understanding of the history and dynamics of the East Asia region.

"The Centre for Korean Studies is planned to be part of the University's East Asia Institute which will eventually include centres for the study of China, Japan and Inner Asia.

"It acts as the University's bridge to East Asia and East Asian communities throughout the world. The Centre is in the early stages and will eventually provide a dynamic and multi-disciplinary centre for scholars, students and those from all professions with an interest in East Asia. They will be able to exchange ideas, increase mutual understanding and promote cross-regional studies. It will also provide a comprehensive approach involving language, culture, history, politics, law, commerce and social studies."

It is planned to house the Institute in a new building on the Sidgwick Site, which will accommodate the anticipated expansion in teaching and research.

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