The Korea Academy for Educators (KAFE) is a private, non-profit, nonpartisan, 501(c)(3) organization dedicated to informing educators about Korea’s history and culture and the Korean American experience in order to promote cross-cultural understanding. KAFE is the only national organization that presents opportunities for K-12 educators of all disciplines to learn about Korean history and culture, Korean American students, and their families. KAFE offers Saturday workshops, five-day summer seminars that include a fellowship program, and free district professional development programs.
The Korean population has increased rapidly in the United States, especially in the Los Angeles area, but opportunities for educators to be informed about Korean history and culture have not kept pace with changing demographics. China and Japan continue to be emphasized in schools and teacher education programs, but Korea is rarely mentioned.
Our five-day seminars and weekend workshops aim to remedy this deficiency. Public and independent school teachers will become more knowledgeable about Korea and its rich heritage. They can then see a more complete picture of East Asia. Furthermore, the role that the United States must play in supporting peace and stability throughout East Asia will come into focus. Understandably, Korean American students too will profit from learning about their heritage
In order to accomplish these objectives, prominent scholars, writers, artists, musicians and others are hired to present varied aspects of Korea’s history and culture. Educators also receive extensive handouts that include valuable resources and helpful lessons to bring the country into the classrooms. Teachers and school administrators learn about the Korean American experience and become more effective in meeting the needs of these students and their families.
Racial tension does exist in Los Angeles and other major cities. Immigration and family mobility have increased the problem. Public schools have serious financial constraints that limit their ability to meet the challenges of racial and ethnic diversity, to say nothing of the poverty and stress that have become an unfortunate reality of urban life.
Since 2004 we have had 2,063 educators from 27 states, 96 school districts, 48 private schools, and Washington, D.C.. Our outreach has also included at least 600 more educators from schools throughout California and numerous universities, such as the University of California, Los Angeles, the University of Colorado, the University of Michigan, the University of Washington, and conferences (California Council for Social Studies and the National Council for Social Studies). KAFE continues to collaborate with existing foundations, such as The Korea Society, the National Consortium for Teaching Asia, and the International Korean Educators Network. Programs have been made possible through generous contributions provided by the Korean Cultural Center Los Angeles, the Academy of Korean Studies, the Korean Foundation, the Overseas Koreans Foundation, the Los Angeles Forerunners Lions Club, and individual donations from Korean Americans from coast to coast.