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Harvard-Ewha conference explores emerging academic fields
2024-04-11
The Harvard Undergraduates in Asia Program (HUAP) welcomed Harvard students to Ewha Womans University through the 2024 Seoul conference held in March.   
 
HUAP invites students from Harvard University's eight partner universities in Asia to the university's Boston campus in January. Invited students host Harvard students at their campus in March.
 
Harvard University’s Boston delegation and Ewha’s Seoul delegation reunited once again for the Seoul conference, held between March 9 and 16. The students gathered to attend lectures and participate in cultural activities together.

HUAP was previously operated under another name, known as the Harvard College in Asia Program (HCAP). The new name replaced “college” in HCAP with “undergraduates,” aiming to better reflect how undergraduate students take initiative and plan the conferences independently throughout the program.  
 
Aligning with this year’s theme of “Embracing the Unknown: The Path Less Traveled,” the Seoul conference examined newly emerging academic and career domains.
 
Cultural exchanges focused on introducing Korean culture to the students from Harvard. Delegates visited tourist spots such as Gwangjang Market, Bukchon Hanok Village and Gwanghwamun Gate, immersing themselves in modern Seoul.
 
Addresses by renowned speakers from a range of newly emerging academic fields as well as interactive educational workshops also took place.  
 
On March 11, the Ewha-Harvard Startup Sprint Workshop took place at the Ewha Startup Open Space.

Focusing on generating innovative solutions to combat the climate crisis, Ewha and Harvard students learned more about climate technology and created prototypes by utilizing Figma, a collaborative interface design tool.
 
Park Seol, head of brand management at LG, was also one of the guest speakers, talking about how staying true to one’s interests and curiosity can lead to a unique professional niche.  
 
“Her advice was very important to college students who are still figuring out their career and life paths,” said Jolin Chan, co-president of the Boston delegation and a junior majoring in history, literature and anthropology at Harvard University.  
 
“She took on various roles in different fields that helped bridge art and technology, and it was amazing to see how she navigated these changes while still staying true to her passions and values.”
 
Chan also recounted the cultural insight she gained through the abundant activities of the 2024 Seoul conference.
 
Getting to make traditional Korean food was one of her most memorable experiences. The Seoul and Boston delegates came together to make songpyeon, or Korean rice cakes, and omija-cha, a magnolia berry tea, during the program.
 
Wanting to offer many interesting programs, scheduling activities during a one-week conference wasn't easy.  
 
“It was hard to strike a balance between academic and cultural programs,” said Ko Myoung-been, an Ewha Womans University student part of the Seoul delegation's academic program management team. 
 
“With so little time to fit in the many events we wished to offer, it was difficult to unify varying opinions on which programs to include and which to not.”
 
Ewha delegates had to prepare the week-long conference on their own, with students focusing on every detail. Owing to the Seoul delegation’s efforts, the Boston delegates' hopes for what Seoul can offer were more than fulfilled.  
 
Raymond Wu, vice president of the Boston delegation and a junior majoring in computer science at Harvard University, also enjoyed many activities during the program.
 
“I was able to try new things and experience lots of different aspects of Korean culture, including enjoying sannakji [a Korean raw octopus dish] and wearing hanbok [Korean traditional dress] and exploring Gyeongbok Palace,” said Wu. “I tend to stay in my comfort zone, but I am glad I pushed myself to try new things because it gave me a greater appreciation for Korea.”
 
Leif-Eric Easley, a professor teaching at Ewha Womans University's Department of International Studies, mentioned the significance of HUAP and the relationship Harvard and Ewha have built over the years. He received his master's and Ph.D. from Harvard University’s Department of Government, meeting students in the program through his lecture “Rising Korea: A Middle Power’s Role in Asia and the World.”  
 
“Harvard is a center of global innovation and standard-setting, while Ewha generates talent in the middle of the world’s most dynamic region,” Professor Easley said. “As a student-led program, HUAP provides an excellent opportunity for future leaders from Korea and the United States to network and grow together.” 
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