Asia Institute Seminar

Saturday, June 17, 2017

6:00-7:30 PM


Rahul Raj


Sejong University


“India’s Strategic Interests in East Asia”



Introductory Remarks:

Emanuel Pastreich


The Asia Institute



Asia Institute Chungmuro Office

8th Floor

24, Chungmuro 11-gil Jung-gu Seoul, Korea

 (see map below)

중구충무로 11길 24번지 8층

02 2277-7132


India has taken a deeper interest in East Asia as it strives to define its new global role. This seminar will consider what India is looking for, who are the different parties competing to define India’s strategy and what are the prospects for the future.

Although India’s engagement with East Asia dates back to thousands of years, much of the developments in the realm of the business and strategic relations developed in the post-1990s to project itself as a regional power when it opened its market and launched its “Look East Policy”. Under this policy, it initiated forging several economic and commercial ties and also enhanced security partnerships with like-minded countries who are concerned with the increasing influence of China in the region. In the early years, the Look East Policy was primarily focused on the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN). India has since expanded the geographic domain of its policy to include Korea, Japan, China, and Australia.


As the power balance is moving from the western hemisphere to Asia-pacific region wherein the rise of China and the US’s pivot to Asia define the foreign policy debate in many countries, New Delhi has also crafted its foreign policy to stay abreast. The Indian Prime Minister, Narendra Modi led government soon after its emphatic victory in 2014 re-crafted the India’s “Look East Policy” to “Act East Policy” wherein it has sought to actively engage the Asian partners both from the economic as well as security perspective.

This can be gauged by the fact that Asia has become one of the most focused areas of the present government. The Modi government has forged and revitalized several strategic partnerships and also tried to put impetus in the existing partnerships with countries which had lost its sheen due to India’s own policy paralysis in the last few years. The strategic interest is not only confined to military but it also includes economic interests. India is the second biggest market with its rapidly ballooning middle class wherein most of the Asian tigers including Korea, Taiwan, Singapore, Japan, and many others have huge strategic interests in the world’s fastest growing economy.







March for Peace

May 14, 2017

Asia Institute’s Korea Peace Movement holds March for Peace in downtown Korea.

The Asia Institute brought together a group of concerned citizens from around the world on May 14 for a march for peace in the face of increasing tensions around the world. Dr. Lakhvinder Singh, director of the Korea Peace Movement, called for an active movement to “wage peace.” He was joined by Lee Raekyong, president of the think tank The Tomorrow, who called for all citizens to recognize the dangers of militarism. Activist Lee Eumsim then read a poem calling for peace. Finally, Kawanaka Yo, a peace activist who came all the way from Japan, performed a dance for peace. The group then conducted a march to city hall and back, appealing to ordinary citizens to join our cause.


Dr. Singh's remarks

Dr. Singh’s remarks

Kawanaka Yo's dance for peace

Kawanaka Yo’s dance for peace




Peace March 1


Peace March 2


Peace March 3


Peace March 4



Dr. Singh’s editorial in the Korea Times:


May 12, 2017

Korea Times

“Marching for Peace” 

By Lakhvinder Singh


If others actively wage war, we must actively “Wage Peace.”

Today, facing growing violence in our society and around the world, there is an urgent need to show that the true bravery needed to counter conflict takes the form, as Mahatma Gandhi said, of “waging peace.” We cannot counter violence with more violence.

We must realize that to build a peaceful society we must build peace at all levels: individual, societal, national and global.

The first level for waging peace is building peace “within,” between man and his creator. The establishment of true harmony between man and nature is the fundamental requirement for any peaceful society. 

The second level of peace-building is the creation of peace between the members of the family. Our materialistic attitude toward our surroundings, and toward each other, has created unlimited desires that are tearing our families apart.

The third level of peace-building is the creation of peace and harmony between the members of our society so that they feel unity and a common cause. Thoughtless consumption and materialism has created terrible alienation that leaves us all isolated and lonely.

The fourth level of the peace movement is to bring peace to the international community by establishing a new consensus about our priorities. Most countries are pushing for their selfish interests without concern for the needs of other countries, for the common good or even for their own future.

In order to be certain that our efforts are sustainable and we create a true culture of peace we must establish peace at all four levels. Peace between man and his creator, between family members and society, and between nations, are closely interrelated and interdependent. Peace at one level cannot exist without peace at other level.

We must come together and address all the intricacies of this complicated problem of peace-building. We urgently need to engage all members of society around the world to create a true culture for peace that is unstoppable.

With the election of Moon Jae-in as president of Korea a new ray of peace of has appeared on the Korean Peninsula. Let his message of harmony and reconciliation bring peace not only to the Korean Peninsula, but to the whole world. Let us pray for his success and march for peace on May 14 in downtown Seoul.

We will be there. Will you?







WCO & the Asia Institute

Christoph Heider


European Chamber of Commerce in Korea

5:30-7:00 PM

WCO Headquarters

Dongho-ro 17-gil (Dasan-dong 252-6) Jung-gu, Seoul

중구 동호로 17 (다산동 252-6)

(See map)

Europe has increasingly become an important partner for Korea and European interest in East Asia is growing rapidly. But what exactly does Korea mean for Europeans, in an economic or a political sense? Christoph Heider, President of the European Chamber of Commerce in Korea, presents his insights into the growing significance of Korea’s European ties and the factors that underlie efforts by Europe to engage Korea and seek out new partnerships.

Christoph Heider, President of the European Chamber of Commerce in Korea, joined the chamber in 2013. He was the former Chief Financial Officer for Bayer Korea Ltd. in Seoul and Regional Manager of Bayer AG’s Legal Entity Accounting for Asia Pacific in Germany. Heider had worked for Bayer Ltd. in Tokyo from 1997 to 2005 having arrived in Japan as a teacher shortly before.

Heider graduated with an Intermediate Diploma in Economics from the Technical University of Braunschweig, Germany in 1988 before going on to complete his Diploma in Business Economics from the University of Mannheim in 1991. He then went on to finish a Postgraduate Program in Japanese from the University of Tuebingen in Germany and Doshisha University in Japan in 1996.



Three Books by Daniel Garrett

Three Books by

Daniel Garrett

Asia Institute’s senior associate Daniel Garrett has produced these three remarkable books recently which reflect his attempts to integrate spiritual topics into his approach to international relations and diplomacy. In an age in which diplomacy has been reduced to consumption and brutality, his unique fight for world peace gives new hope for us as we face our greatest challenge yet.

Chronicles of a New Tibet: Book 1: Entanglement


Climate change has brought a number of surprises including the rise of Green China, a Tibetan Renaissance, and the dissolution of the United States. Set against this backdrop conflict between the different powers has shifted to the Astral Realms of quantum interconnectedness which the new Bardo Tech allows people to enter at will. Will love survive this new battlefield? Or will the forces that have been unleashed prove too strong for the mere humans that dabble in them…


The wind is full of prayers, and the rocks, too, are carved full of prayers, and the carving of prayers into rocks goes on, and the praying of the wind goes on. There are some places where the great wave of disenchantment of the world never quite reached.  It climbed to the top of the Tibetan passes and was re-enchanted.  It sobbed in recognition of all that it had forgotten, a world that lived: Gods and Goddesses and demigods and demons and spirits everywhere, and each and every sentient being embodied or not, a friend, a mother, in an endless telling of a story that only stopped when one awoke, and even then did not really stop so much as go on joyously, with all the connections between doing and being, clear, and freedom come as natural as mountain air. 

The streams were full of prayers, and the rivers and the great grasslands; the caves were full of meditators and the bones of meditators, still sitting in meditation position, and of paintings on the cave walls, not of bison and the hunt, but of dakhinis and dharma protectors, and of mandalas, the visualization of which created a door for stepping out of this world and into the world from which it had emerged.   And there were monasteries, as large as little cities themselves, where monks and nuns chanted and laughed and practiced the art and science of having the mind understand itself.  And the skies, the endless skies, above the nomads and the yak were peopled by clouds that were the clouds in the mind of the people who walked below them.  Clouds that taught and told and preached and sang poems and prayers.  Everything was connected to everything else, as intimately as family, as closely as lover to lover, and inner was outer and outer was inner, no one being able, or wanting, to close the doors on the immensities on either side of that equation.   The earth had raised high a cradle to teach all that lived upon her and with her, of their inheritance and their belonging.  No cathedral of man could rival these mountains and valleys in sanctity and uplift.  And when the world, finally, in great tragedy and sadness, broke into the fastness of the mountains, the secrets that had been there preserved and nurtured, flowed out into the world, and the world was changed.”

Pieces of the Moon


Telltale bits of the simulacrum of being, shards really, discovered by a young poet spouting strange words. Mating calls perhaps. Prayers no doubt. Reveries, raving, writhing, tithings to a god a goddess and mountains climbed and unclimbed. Several cups of nothingness and than some.


“this wizardry of sleep, leaves costumes of flesh

prone upon their beds, breathings as heavy and slow

as a rusting ocean of idling machines.

and the shoebox towns, and the cardboard cities

give up their feeble ghosts, to gangs of shadow

and return to the model of themselves

which some corporate architect saw

before the broken families came forth and filled them in

and all that was holy drives drunkenly home

past the closed-down drive-in at the edge of town

its longest running show now become, just ‘night’”

The Sustenance of Words: Selected Essays 2009-2016

 sustenance of words

I was in a position of minor power and saw the writing on the wall of abrupt climate change, and what can most charitably be described as “vampire economics” and in that modest perch from which I thought some small good could be done, I raised a warning as best I could. Some heard, most did not, or if they heard felt there was nothing they could do, that it was not their job description.

These are the words of that protest, starting with a Dissent Cable written for the U.S. Department of State in 2009, followed by subsequent essays upon my professional demise from that august institution. Sadly it appears we have acted too late. Happily it appears we are a clever shambling beast with a few more tricks up our sleeves. Sadly the situation is more dire than it was then. Tragically a virulent form of insanity is in the cockpit and we have not yet learned to fly on our own, or more importantly, fly collectively for the good of all. Hopefully out of this debacle some desperate beauty will arise, out of the earth, out of our common human hearts, and out of the animating spirits of all of our precious children.


“I would say, and in fact do say, that the sustenance of words is meager, thin, unsustaining, poor, inartful, verging on the useless, and yes, that it is both cruel and the awfulest gruel you can imagine. And yet. Sometimes, it is the only gear that translates inaction into action. And when that -aforementioned- rare occurrence occurs it can also too easily be the gear that translates inchoate feeling into misdirected mistakes.  So we must give some respect, if not credence, to what we say, and to the beliefs, formulated, formulaic or not, from which those beliefs emerge, though often of course it is the other way around. Justification cobbled together for what in fact is a stance taken in the darkest recesses of our mind if not our body.

Nor is the essay, my favored art form. The idea of speaking reasonably to drunks with a well-crafted line of argumentation is folly in the extreme. In fact, most essayists are in service in the halls of power to power. They are the handmaidens to unreasonableness, crafting their bland inanities to cover over the truth of so-called leadership’s lust for power, and/or money; cobbling together fig leaves to cover the sickening bulges of vanity, careerism, narcissism, and sociopathy.  And yet here I am with a modest book of the same.  And I blame the government. Of course! My years as a Foreign Service Officer writing heavily edited cables (so that most of the sense and feeling were wrung out of them by the grey uneminences of the hierarchically higher-ups) created the bad habit, formed the unhealthy notion, that people could be persuaded out of their dangerous misconceptions if enough facts and phrases were martialed.  It of course doesn’t work that way.  We read, if we read, the arguments that perpetuate our illusions, certainly not the ones that set out to dash our complacencies.”


Asia Institute Seminar

6:00-7:30 PM


Monday, May 15, 2017


“The Road to a Shrinking Society”

How to make ourselves truly renewable


WCO Anguk

3rd Floor

(see map)

Matsuhisa Hiroshi

Professor  Emeritis

Kyoto University

School of Engineering


After the meltdowns at the Fukushima nuclear power plants in 2011, Japanese public opinion has been divided into three groups: those who want to continue using it, those who want to phase it out and those who want to end its use immediately. The establishment has argued that nuclear power is required for the economy and recently the Abe Administration has pushed for restarting plants as part of his agenda for growth.

The choice is one rather of choosing the future of Japan and goes far beyond nuclear power. If we continue this rate of “growth” we will exhaust all our resources in the near future. Even 2% growth will assure us that we will use up what resources we have in fifty years, rather than one hundred.

War and catastrophe will be the consequences of the radical exhaustion of resources.

         There is much talk about a sustainable society today, but the term “sustainable” is used in a vague sense with no concrete guidelines.

Some in industry see it as meaning the sustaining of current growth into the future, the complete opposite of the environmentalists demand for limited consumption.

We must face the truth and reduce real consumption. If we reduce consumption by 1% every year, a 100 year reserve can be continued indefinitely. If we reduce more than that, we can build up a reserve. We must design a smaller society for the sake of future generations in order to avoid catastrophe.

The current economic system is based on mass production and mass consumption. As a result, our lives are flooded with industrial products to which we have become addicted. Our ever-growing society is already showing the signs of discordance as a result of this consumption illness.  A smaller society, on the other hand, supports local production and consumption, and requires less energy. We will have a more healthy society if people are not addicted to industrial products and anonymous consumption but rather nurture each other and promote a creative life.

WCO Anguk