Concordia Language Villages Receives $5 Million Donation For Korean Site
A generous donation has initiated the first steps in bringing an authentic Korean language village site to the Concordia Language Villages in Bemidji. The celebration coincided with the village’s annual International Day.
“Today, we are celebrating the 20th anniversary summer of Sup Sogui Hosu, the Korean language village, and in honor of that occasion, we’ve had a very significant gift of $5 million from Kenny and Simone Park of Seoul, Korea and the Simone Corporation,” says Christine Schulze, the executive director of Concordia Language Villages.
The Simone Corporation makes luxury handbags for famous brands like Michael Kors, Marc Jacobs and Coach. Kenny Park learned about Concordia when the Korean village’s founding dean did an interview in Seoul. Park loved the idea of sharing Korean culture with the world.
“The villagers, they are so energetic and passionate to learn something, other countries, the culture and people and languages,” says Park.
Right now at the Concordia Language Village, there are currently 15 languages offered. Of those 15 languages, seven are taught on culturally authentic sites. The Korean site will be the 8th, and it will also be the 1st to represent an Asian country.
Schulze says, “This property was always envisioned to encompass the world and by adding Korean, we are in fact living out that original dream.”
The new language village site will be built by Turtle River. Two architectural teams have already been hired, one from Minnesota and one from Seoul. They’ll collaborate and then hopefully break ground next spring. Concordia then hopes to host their first sessions on the new site in the summer of 2020.
Park says, “I hope this will motivate to other donators to help bring this Korean language village to [the] next chapter.”
The donation is the largest single gift donation ever given to Concordia to date.