Beyond Ideology and Toward Unity



Goh Kun,

Date and Time

December 1, 2005 5:15 PM - 6:45 PM


Open to the public.

No RSVP required


Bechtel Conference Center

Korea stands at a critical juncture, as it transitions from mid-level to advanced country status. Yet at this important time, Korea seems to have lost its sense of direction. Ideological confrontations, uncertainty about identity, mistrust of the political process and the government, reform fatigue, and, above all, lack of vision have become endemic. Such symptoms are not unique in this global "age of deconstruction," but they are more salient in Korea, where crushing ideological disputes, ongoing inter-Korean conflict, and fallout from of rapid, intensive modernization have put the country in crisis.

If Korea is to move forward, politics and government must regain the confidence of the people. The country cannot become an advanced nation if its ideological obsessions remain entrenched. Creative, pragmatic leadership will bring outcomes-oriented vision, inclusiveness, and focus to the goal of sustainable development on the Korean Peninsula.

A period of historic uncertainty often ushers in an era of progress, and the current crisis presents a tremendous opportunity. Now is the time for Korea's leaders to learn from the past, embrace pragmatism, and make history.

Goh served as the Acting President when the current President, Roh Moo Hyun, was indicted for impeachment by the National Assembly on March 12, 2004 and his powers, including those of Commander-in-Chief, were transferred to Prime Minister Goh until Roh was acquitted by the Constitutional Court in May of the same year. As Acting President, Goh was widely acclaimed for his crucial role in restoring South Korea's stability, handling foreign affairs skillfully, and managing the central government effectively.

Goh has served as the 30th Prime Minister (1997-1998), twice as the Mayor of Seoul, (1998-2002, 1988-1990), Minister of Home Affairs (1987), Member of the National Assembly (1985-1988), Minister of Agriculture and Marine Affairs (1981-1982), Minister of Transportation (1980-1981), and Chief Secretary of Political Affairs to the President (1979-1980).

He holds the record as the youngest Governor in South Korea. At the age of 37, he became the Governor of Jeonnam Province in 1975. He was appointed by the President to lead a national agricultural modernization program called the New Village Movement, which transformed South Korea's agricultural sector into one of the most modernized and productive in Asia.

Between government posts, Goh has served as the Chairman of Transparency International in Korea to fight corruption in South Korea, a life-long cause for Goh. He has also served as the Co-President of Korean Federation for Environment Movement and president of Myong Ji University. He is a 1960 graduate of the Seoul National University. He was a Visiting Fellow at Harvard University in 1983 and a Visiting Professor at MIT in 1984. He is married with three sons.