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Event news: King’s College London Contemporary Korea Speaker Series


The London Asia Pacific Centre will be hosting the Contemporary Korea Speaker Series in October-November 2016. Thanks to funding provided by The Academy of Korean Studies, the series will bring to London four top Korean professors to discuss contemporary Korean economics, politics and society. The talks are as follows:

  • 13 October 2016 – Prof Kim Taehwan: Korean Public Diplomacy as a Counter-Geopolitics
  • 20 October 2016 – Prof Woosik Moon: Korea’s Economy at the Crossroad – Two Lessons from Abroad
  • 27 October 2016 – Prof Eun Mee Kim: Sustainable Development Goals and Better Life for Girls: South Korea’s Journey from Recipient to Donor of Foreign Assistance
  • 8 November 2016 – Prof Sunghoon Park: East Asian Regionalism – Challenges and Opportunities

Venues for the talks are divided between SOAS and King’s. More details below:

Korean public diplomacy as a counter-geopolitics

Alumni Lecture Theatre – School of Oriental and African Studies (Russell Square)
13 October 2016 18:15-20:00
Speaker: Professor Kim Taehwan, Korean National Diplomatic Academy

There are two distinctive types of meta power that are shaping the current world politics. One is geopolitical competition when geopolitics is defined as the struggle between states for control and influence over space and place. Geopolitics appears to be back in play indeed across the globe in the post-Cold War era, and many pundits even frame this as the “return of classical geopolitics”. Among the core traits of the geopolitical order are the state-centrism, political identities anchored in singular nation-state identities, the primacy of national security amidst hard power rivalries between states, and the dichotomous polarity between the domestic and the international. We also witness the rise of another type of meta power in technological innovations, particularly those in information and communication, that are diluting the modern socio-spatial triad of the interstate system. Technological breakthroughs since the last part of the previous century have been empowering non-state actors, triggering a series of deterritorialization in economy, collective political identity, space, security and power, and thereby attenuating the “territorial trap” that has long caught the modern perceptions and practices of world politics.

The two meta powers are interacting to mold a post-Westphalia order, under which public diplomacy, championing new technological innovations, is gradually expanding its realm from within the Westphalian geopolitical order. Public diplomacy, conceived in this way, is not simply an instrumental complement to a country’s foreign policy, but a new diplomatic paradigm of counter-geopolitics. Built on this conception of public diplomacy, “public diplomacy, Koran-style” is presented as having (and should have) a strings of characteristics that include the role-based identity, a refining model utilizing competitive advantage in non-hard power, a plowing model specializing in knowledge and collaboration, and its issue- and global space-orientation.
Dr Taehwan Kim is Associate Professor of Public Diplomacy of the Korea National Diplomatic Academy (KNDA), the ROK Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Before joining KNDA in 2013, he had served as Director of Public Diplomacy at the Korea Foundation since 2008. He also taught as Research Professor at the Division of International Education of Yonsei University during 2002 and 2008. He is a book review editor for the quarterly Global Asia published by the East Asia Foundation. Dr Kim graduated from Yonsei University (B.A. and M.A. in Political Science) and received his Ph.D. in Political Science from Columbia University. His research focus is on comparative political economy of post-socialist transformation and Korea’s public diplomacy. His recent works include “Authoritarian Post-Communist Transition and Its Future in China, Vietnam, and North Korea”; “Beyond Geopolitics: South Korea’s Eurasia Initiative as a New Nordpolitik”; and “Paradigm Shift in Diplomacy: A Conceptual Model for Korea’s New Public Diplomacy”.

Korea’s economy at the crossroad – two lessons from abroad

K6.63 (6th Floor) Strand Campus, King’s College.
20 October 2016 18:15-20:00
Speaker: Prof Woosik Moon (Seoul National University)

Korea is traversing a lacklustre economic growth despite accommodating macroeconomic stabilization policies. The growth rate fell to 3% on average after 2012 from 5% before the global financial crisis in 2008. It is likely that the growth rate fall farther below in the near future. At the origin of this economic performance lies a structural transformation of Korean economy. Korea is currently confronted with two big challenges, population reduction and stagnancy of export. Korea can draw two lessons from Japan and Germany, which were similar to each other but are showing contrasting economic performances. First, there is an urgent need to address the population reduction, which would end up with continuing to oppress its growth rate. Second, the best way to cope with it is to continue to globalize and regionalize its economy, despite increasing voices of discontent.

Woosik Moon is currently a professor of economics at the Graduate School of International Studies (GSIS), Seoul National University (SNU). He was a member of Monetary Policy Committee, Bank of Korea, from April 2012 to April 2016. Prior to joining Bank of Korea, he served as advisor or policy evaluator in different Korean Ministries including Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ministry of Finance and Budget, and Ministry of Education. He also worked as a research fellow at Korea Development Institute. He received his Ph. D in economics from the University of Paris-I, and his area of expertise is monetary economics, international finance and monetary integration.

Sustainable development goals and better life for girls: South Korea’s journey from recipient to donor of foreign assistance

Alumni Lecture Theatre – School of Oriental and African Studies (Russell Square)
27 October 2016 18:15-20:00
Speaker: Prof Eun Mee Kim, Ewha Womans University

South Korea, which was one of the poorest countries in the world in the early 1960s and recipient of over USD 12.78 billion in official development assistance (ODA) from 1945 to 1995, has now become an emerging donor. Based on its own experience of overcoming extreme poverty with the help of ODA, its ODA volume has been increasingly most rapidly in the world in the new millennium. In this presentation, Dean Kim will share South Korea’s most recent global initiative, “Better Life for Girls,” which her research team has helped to identify as a key global public health agenda for the South Korean government. She will discuss why we must focus on young girls between the ages of 9 and 18 as a crucial means to improve the health of young mothers and their newborn child, as well as to address the need to work to prevent young girls from early marriage and pregnancy so that “girls can be girls” with the full privileges of youth, education and empowerment.

Eun Mee Kim is Dean and Professor in the Graduate School of International Studies, Director of the Institute for Development and Human Security and Director of the Ewha Global Health Institute for Girls at Ewha Womans University. She was President of the Korea Association of International Development and Cooperation (2011-2012). She served on the Committee for International Development Cooperation under the Prime Minister’s Office, the Policy Advisory Committees of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and the Ministry of Gender Equality and Family. She was the first woman to be on the Board of Samsung Electronics (2013-16). In 2012, she received the Service Merit Medal from the Republic of Korea for her contributions to the Fourth High-Level Forum on Aid Effectiveness. In 2013, she received the first research grant to a university in South Korea from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation on her research entitled, “Advocacy for Korean Engagement in Global Health and Development.”

East Asian regionalism – challenges and opportunities

K6.63 (6th Floor) Strand Campus, King’s College
8 November 2016 18:15-20:00
Speaker: Prof Sunghoon Park, Korea University

The regional architecture for East Asia has been facing a number of obstacles. In addition to the territorial rearmament attempt of Japan, the lack of a clear vision, overlapping membership, and undefined boundaries have been burdening the process of building an appropriate regional architecture in East Asia. A number of new initiatives that have been brought into discussion and attracted interest from stakeholders from within and outside East Asia have not been up to the high expectations, as well.
Against this backdrop, the presentation sketches the political economic factors surrounding the East Asian regionalism, and analyzes the challenges and opportunities facing it. A special attention will be paid to the leadership vacuum which is caused by the leadership competitions among superpowers and the ineffectiveness of ASEAN-centrality as a main obstacle to the successful process of East Asian regionalism.

Sung-Hoon Park earned his Ph.D. degree in Economics from Technical University of Berlin, Germany in 1993, and has been Professor of Economics and International Trade at the Graduate School of International Studies (GSIS), Korea University since 1997. Professor Park has served Vice President for Planning and Budget in March 2007 – January 2008 and Dean of both GSIS and Division of International Studies (DIS) during March 2011 – February 2013. Sunghoon Park has held research fellowship at Korea Institute for International Economic Policy (KIEP) during 1993-1997, and visiting professorships at Macau Institute of European Studies (2000 – now), Ritsumeikan University (2003). He was awarded a Fulbright Visiting Scholarship for the 2003-2004 academic year to UC San Diego, United States, and an Erskine Visiting Fellowship from University of Canterbury in Christchurch, New Zealand (July – September 2010), and took a Visiting Professorship at University of Vienna in Vienna, Austria (October 2010 – January 2011). Awarded a Jean Monnet Chair Professorship in 2013, Sunghoon Park currently is primarily interested in a Comparative Regionalism Research in Europe and East Asia.


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