“The Crisis in Korean politics today”
Asia Institute Report
October 13, 2017
Months of protests by a broad range of citizens groups and countless individuals, from elementary school students to seniors, resulted not only in the impeachment of a president, the launch of a serious investigation of the tragic sinking of the Sewol Ferry, serious charges brought against numerous individuals engaged in influence peddling and fraud and one of the most transparent presidential elections held in any country.
The ethical commitment of ordinary citizens in Korea has made a tremendous difference and the increasingly corrupt politics of ritual and back-room deals has been brought to the attention of the public in a manner that is both shocking and inspiring. At a time when citizens in the United States or Japan lament that they can do nothing to change their government, Korea has displayed that significant change and reform is possible. Korea not only is inspiring other nations not only through cultural productions like music and film, but also through political action and democratic vitality. Continue Reading
Passionate discussion of Korea-China relations at Hongling Chinese Culture Salon
On September 27, 2017 the Hongling Culture Salon, a bimonthly gathering which offers an opportunity for Koreans, Chinese and other residents of Seoul to discuss current issues in Chinese language, held a special meeting on the occasion of the 25th anniversary of the normalization of normalization of diplomatic relations between the People’s Republic of China and the Republic of Korea. The Hongling Culture Salon is organized by the Asia Institute, Kyung Hee University Cyber University and the Confucius Institute of Kyung Hee University. The seminar was our thirteenth such event.
I was tapped to lead an honest and at times, moving debate among the 50 individuals who gathered for the salon. We had much to discuss granted the aggressive approach of the Trump administration towards North Korea and China and the tragic impact of the deployment of THAAD in South Korea over the objections of the Chinese government.
Many attending were Chinese who have lived in Korea for many years, or Koreans who have lived in China for many years, in most cases with husbands or wives from the other country. The speakers expressed both tremendous enthusiasm about the potential for real cooperation in just about every field, a deep sadness that political circumstances had done so much damage, and desire to explore new routes forward.
We were joined by a delegation from Tongji University in Shanghai, incuding Dean Liu Shuyan 刘淑妍of the International School of Tongji University and Xu Jianping徐建平, professor of mathematics and Associate Party Secretary. Professor Fang Ping of Tongji University, now the director of the Confucius Institute at Kyung Hee University, made a special effort to go around to each participant and get their perspectives on how we should move forward. Professor Im Kyu-seop of Kyung Hee Cyber University also did the same for Korean participants.
We had a group from the Chinese embassy, lead by Ai Hongge 艾宏歌, Counsellor for Education.
The following day, September 28th, a smaller gathering of Kyung Hee students met to discuss Korean-Chinese relations from their perspective. The following is a description of that event in Chinese and English.
Record of the Chinese Seminar on September 28th, 2017
On the evening of September 28th , 2017, 6:30-8:00, the 2nd Chinese seminar of the series activities “Chinese Language Salon for Chinese and Korean students“ which is sponsored by the Confucius Institute and the Asia Institute, was held in the 327 classroom of Confucius Institute . A total of nearly 20 students from China, Korea, Singapore and Europe participated in the discussions about language learning and cultural experience. The students talked extensively about language speaking skills, dialects, traveling, customs, literature and so on.
At the beginning of the activity, students talked about their original intention of learning two languages. Korean students generally refer to the Chinese language courses at their foreign language high schools as the origin why they learned and became interested in Chinese. Non Korean students studying in Korea were generally motivated by Korean pop culture and chose to study in Korea.
When it comes to difficulties in learning Chinese, Korean students generally say that the “four tones” of Chinese are the most difficult to grasp. Second, the four-character idioms are also difficult to use skillfully. China students and Singapore students mentioned Korean phonetic phenomenon is difficult to use.
When it comes to dialect and traveling, the salon’s atmosphere reaches its highest point. All the students have shown the dialects of their hometowns. The Chinese students demonstrated the Beijing dialect, the Shanghai dialect, the northeast dialect, the Henan dialect, the Hunan dialect and so on to the Korean students. Korean students show dialects of Seoul, Kwangju, Busan and other places. Singapore students have shown the Malay language, which aroused great interest among Chinese and Korean students.
When the topic was travelling, China students said they mainly visited the tunnel business area, while Korean students prefer the humanities, nature and culture. Among the Korean students, there was someone who had even traveled to 34 cities in China; someone had gone to Mount Huangshan; someone even had eaten authentic Lanzhou noodles in Lanzhou, Gansu province.
Finally, the Chinese seminar ended in a perfect atmosphere, students even spontaneously formed friends to do mutual learning in the future.
“A Republic of Korea Greater than Koreans imagined”
Is it possible?
Friday, October 27, 2017
Discussion led by
The Asia Institute
KT Olleh Square Innovation/Economy/Renovation Center
(First Floor of KT Building, Gwanghwamun [next to US Embassy])
(광화문 KT 올레스퀘어 창조경제혁신센터회의실
The Republic of Korea is faced with overwhelming challenges from the current economic collapse, the breakdown of an equitable society under pressure from an aging population and the unequal distribution of wealth and the constant pressure of climate change.
The problems are almost overwhelming, although few want to discuss them. Yet, might there not be some opportunities beneath the surface in Korean know-how, in the Korean culture and in the remarkable vitality of Korean youth? Join us for a open discussion with Emanuel Pastreich, director of the Asia Institute and author of the recent best-selling book, “A Republic of Korea Greater than Koreans imagined.”
“Is Northeast Asia the source of the climate crisis, or the solution?”
The Asia Institute
New York University Shanghai
Thursday, October 19, 2017
New York University Shanghai
Northeast Asia has undergone a tremendous transformation over the last fifty years which is still heralded as an economic miracle. But the devastating impact of climate change suggests that a far different narrative will emerge in the years ahead. Many are concerned that the awareness of climate change remains low in the region and that reliance on smokestack industries and a consumption culture will have serious impact.
But there are signs that China is moving more quickly to address the environmental crisis than any other country in the world, and because of the scale of China’s economy, the impact will be considerable. Similar, if less ambitious, efforts are being made in Korea and Japan.
Moreover, China, Japan and Korea have a tremendous tradition of sophisticated organic farming and recycling which offers our future some hope. The American professor F. H. King detailed Asia’s achievements in his book Farmers of Forty Centuries back in 1909, suggesting that the West should learn from China. Sadly, the opposite has taken place.
New York University Shanghai
Asia Institute Seminar:
New Possibilities for exchange between Korea and Japan
Sunday March 28
Gwanghwamun, Seoul, Korea
Two young Japanese known for their advocacy for peace in Asia, Kawanaka Yo & Hara Hiroyuki, will be available to talk to you about new potential approaches to cooperation so that we can move forward in a positive direction. Please do join us at the Koreana Hotel Paul Bassett.