The following press release was sent to the Bloomingtonian Wednesday:
IU professor receives top cultural award of South Korea
Professor joins short list of awardees including K-pop band BTS
BLOOMINGTON, IND. – Indiana University associate professor Hyo Sang Lee of the Hamilton Lugar School of Global and International Studies was recently presented with the national ‘Hwagwan Order of Cultural Merit’ award by the South Korean government for his exemplary contributions to Korean language and culture. This national award from the Korean Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism is an annual government award made in the name of the President. This year’s nationally televised ceremony was held in Seoul, South Korea on Hangeul Day, October 9, the national holiday celebrating the Korean alphabet, Hangeul. Hyo Sang Lee was one of 13 individuals to receive an award, conferred this year by South Korean Prime Minister Han Duck-soo. Coincidentally, the mega-famous K-pop band BTS was awarded the same honor in 2018.
Lee, associate professor in the department of East Asian Languages and Cultures, is a linguist and a national and international leader in Korean language pedagogy.
His award rationale cited three primary achievements that have significantly contributed to Korean language and culture.
First, Hyo Sang Lee’s development of a major Korean language textbook series as a co-author, Integrated Korean, published by the University of Hawaii Press, is now the most widely used textbook series in the U.S. for the beginning and the intermediate level. The series is currently in use by approximately 150 Korean language programs. He is co-author of Integrated Korean: Beginning 1 & 2, Integrated Korean: Intermediate 1 & 2, and Integrated Korean: High Advanced 1 & 2.
Second, Lee has developed the Korean language program at Indiana University to become one of the leading programs in the U.S., enrolling more than 350 students each year. Lee was recruited to IU in 1993 to lead the growth of the Korean language program and to teach Korean language and linguistics, and the comparative study of East Asian languages, and has been teaching for 29 years.
Third, Lee is a leader in the field of Korean language education and has facilitated the growth of Korean language programs across the U.S. by participating in program reviews and the development of national testing standards. He has served as a SAT 2 Korean test developer, and has also served as the sixth president of the American Association of Teachers of Korea (AATK), the representative organization of Korean language instructors in North America, and as an editorial board member of the AATK journal.
“I am humbled by this award and I am not sure if I deserve this high honor,” said Lee. “My award was made possible by the nomination from the L.A. Korean Cultural Center.”
In addition to contributions cited above, Lee also played a major role in initiating and organizing the Midwest Korean Speech Contest in 2019, the first of its kind in the U.S. as a co-president (2019-2021) of the Midwest Association of Teachers of Korean.
This recognition for an Indiana University professor from the South Korean government demonstrates the strength of the university’s language programs and the high distinction of its Korean language program and East Asian Language and Cultures department. Indiana University has a long history of scholarship in world cultures and languages, and offers 80 languages, more than any other in the U.S.