Good Governance in South Korea: Mobilizing Citizens through Engaged Communication



McCaw Hall

Stanford Alumni Association
Frances C. Arrillaga Alumni Center
326 Galvez Street
Stanford, CA 94305-6105
Parking, Map & Directions.


  • Park Won Soon


The Honorable Park Won Soon is the 35th mayor of Seoul, South Korea. He was initially elected in Oct. 2011, and recently reelected for another four-year term in June 2014. Park was elected as an indepedent candidate, with the support of the Democratic Party and Democractic Labor Party.

In his keynote speech, Mayor Park will share his philosophy on civic participation and local governance, reflecting on his career in- and outside government. He will explore communication strategies that local government can employ to better engage citizens and motivate collective action, using best practices from Seoul to illustrate his point.

Before assuming office, Park was a human rights lawyer and passionate activist who founded several NGOs. In his early university years at Seoul National University, Park was arrested and expelled for participating in a student rally against the military dictatorship of President Park Chung Hee, and was subsequently imprisoned for four months.

Park passed the state bar exam in 1980, and worked as a public prosecutor in the Daegu District Court in Gyeongsang Province (1982–3), afterward launching a private law practice in Seoul. In 2006, Park founded the Hope Institute, a think tank that aims to apply policy alternatives based on ideas generated by Korea’s citizens.

He also founded the People’s Solidarity for Participatory Democracy in 1994, a nonprofit organization dedicated to promoting justice and human rights in Korean society through civic participation.

In 2000, Park founded the Beautiful Foundation, a nonprofit organization that aims to promote a culture of philanthropy and a just society in Korea, and in 2002, the Beautiful Store, a secondhand store that raises funds for the Foundation’s initiatives.

Park holds a diploma in international law from the London School of Economics and Political Science and a bachelor’s degree in history from Dankook University. In 1993, he was a visiting research fellow in the Human Rights Program at the School of Law at Harvard University and from 2005-6 he was a distinguished practitioner at the Shorenstein Asia-Pacific Research Center, Stanford University.

This event is part of the Asia-Pacific Leaders Forum.

The video of this presentation is located on the Shorenstein APARC YouTube channel.