Stanford University’s Korea Program Celebrates 20th Anniversary with Conference Spotlighting South Korean Wave, North Korean Geopolitics

Stanford University’s Korea Program Celebrates 20th Anniversary with Conference Spotlighting South Korean Wave, North Korean Geopolitics

The Korea Program at Stanford’s Walter H. Shorenstein Asia-Pacific Research Center will commemorate its 20-year anniversary with a two-day conference, convening eminent speakers from the K-pop industry, academia, and government, and unveiling two new documentary films.
Bukchon Hanok village and text about Stanford's Korea Program 20th anniversary conference on May 19-20, 2022.

The Korea Program at Stanford's Walter H. Shorenstein Asia-Pacific Research Center (APARC) will mark its 20-year anniversary with a conference focused on North Korea’s geopolitics and South Korea’s pop culture wave (Hallyu), two aspects of Korea that continue to intrigue the public. Exploring how to translate this public attention into an increased academic interest in Korea, the conference will be headlined by Ban Ki-moon, former United Nations Secretary-General, and Soo-Man Lee, Founder and Chief Producer of SM Entertainment, who will join a lineup of speakers including SUHO, leader of K-pop group EXO. The two-day event will take place on May 19 and May 20, 2022, at Stanford’s Bechtel Conference Center, and is free and open to the public.

Breaking with the format of a traditional academic conference, the event will bring together scholars and experts to envision new horizons for the field of Korean Studies. It will include panel discussions on issues such as security on the Korean peninsula, North Korean human rights, U.S.-DPRK relations, and the rising global popularity of South Korea’s soft power, with a focus on K-dramas and K-pop. Scholars from Stanford and other prestigious North American universities will join on-stage conversations with leading practitioners including Joohee Cho, Seoul Bureau Chief at ABC News, and Angela Killoren, CEO of CJ ENM America, as well as government officials including Kim Sook, the former South Korean Ambassador to the UN, and Joon-woo Park, the former South Korean Ambassador to the EU, both former visiting fellows at the Korea Program.

Kim Hyong-O, the former speaker of South Korea’s National Assembly as well as a Korea Program alum, and Geun Lee, the president of the Korea Foundation, will deliver remarks at a private dinner event, which will recognize major donors and supporters of the Program.

Conference Speakers Conference speakers include (from left to right) Ban Ki-moon, Kathryn Moler, SUHO, Soo-Man Lee, Marci Kwon, Michael McFaul, Siegfried Hecker, Kim Hyong-O, Dafna Zur, H.R. McMaster, Michelle Cho, Gabriella Safran.

“We are delighted to mark the twentieth anniversary of the Korea Program with such an outstanding lineup of speakers,” says Gi-Wook Shin, William J. Perry Professor of Contemporary Korea at Stanford and the Program’s founding director. “For the past two decades, the Program has produced exceptional research on pressing issues, fostered connection between scholars and policymakers, and nurtured numerous students,” Shin notes. These accomplishments will be on display in the Korea Program’s new digital archives, which will be unveiled at the conference.

The event will also feature previews of two brand new documentaries, one on K-pop and the other on North Korean human rights, directed by Hark Joon Lee. “It is our hope that these documentaries will deepen global understanding of these issues and be used to help teach the next generation of students about Korea,” says Shin, who provided input on the films along with his research team at the Korea Program.

“We are incredibly grateful to those who have helped the Korea Program thrive over the past two decades,” notes Shin. “This conference will be an opportunity to share our thanks and reflect on our achievements while looking forward to the Program’s future.”

For conference registration, as well as the full agenda and speaker list, please visit the event page. Registration will open on Monday, May 2, 2022, at 9:00 a.m. PDT.

The conference will be live-streamed on APARC's YouTube channel.

About the Korea Program

The Korea Program at Stanford’s Shorenstein Asia-Pacific Research Center is a West Coast hub of scholarship on contemporary Korea and the issues shaping the future of the Korean Peninsula and U.S.-Korea relations. Our work examines these topics from regional and comparative perspectives through cultural, political, and economic lenses. We train and support emerging Korea scholars and convene experts from academia, government, business, and civil society for dialogue, research, and publishing activities that inform policymakers in the United States and Korea and strengthen the bonds between the two countries. For more information, visit our website.

Media Advisory and Press Contact

Journalists interested in covering the conference should contact Shorenstein APARC’s Associate Director for Communications and External Relations Noa Ronkin at by May 17 at 9:00 a.m. PT to register. At the venue, they will be required to present a press credential from an established news organization. Freelance reporters should email a letter from the news organization for which they work to Noa Ronkin by the May 17 deadline. The press area is limited and press seating is not guaranteed.