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Colby College in Waterville, Maine, has received a major grant from The Freeman Foundation to expand and further develop its pioneering East Asian studies program over the next four years. The college will receive $728,044 to support a new faculty position in economics with a link to East Asian studies, to enhance the program’s curriculum, to expand internships for students in Asian countries and to bring additional East Asian cultural programming to the Colby campus for student and community audiences.
“This generous gift will help us to create a more visible, compelling and contemporary program that will engage more of our students in the study of East Asia, both on campus as well as in regions of the Pacific Rim,” said Colby President William D. Adams. “Among the driving principles of our strategic planning are a continued, strong commitment to international education as a core element of liberal learning and additional emphasis on project-based study, on campus and abroad. This grant will aid both initiatives and should call attention to our long and distinguished commitment to East Asian studies,” he said.
In the mid-1960s Colby was one of the first colleges of its size to add East Asian studies to its curriculum. It recently bolstered its commitment to the program with additional tenure-track positions in Japanese and Chinese languages. The Freeman Foundation grant will allow Colby to hire an academic economist specializing in Asian Pacific Rim countries. The Freeman grant also includes resources for curricular development in various areas of the interdisciplinary East Asian studies program.
Besides creating additional means for Colby students to take advantage of educational opportunities in East Asia, the grant will help the college develop research-based projects for those students along with internship opportunities including summer positions. In part that will be accomplished by capitalizing on Colby’s links with alumni and parents in a wide range of leadership positions in Cambodia, China, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Japan, South Korea, Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam.
The grant also establishes an East Asian Cultural Fund to support Colby’s efforts to bring lecturers, visual artists and performers to campus for the greater Central Maine community.
The Freeman Foundation was established in Vermont in 1978 by Houghton Freeman, Mansfield Freeman and other members of the Freeman family. The Foundation’s main objectives include strengthening the bonds of friendship between the United States and the countries of the Far East. Through education and educational institutes, the Foundation hopes to develop a greater appreciation in the United States of East Asian cultures, histories and economies as well as a better understanding among the peoples of East Asia of the American people, their institutions and purposes.