South Korea: Inspiration for Democracy in Asia

February 27, 2019
09:30 am - 01:00 pm

About the Event

The Candlelight Movement demonstrated the motivation of South Koreans in responding to corruption, holding those in power accountable, and revitalizing democratic participation, particularly among younger people who were not part of the country’s transition to democracy in late 1980s. As South Korea pursues reforms to address the aspirations expressed by citizens in 2016 and 2017, we see a strengthened commitment among Korea’s civil society, academics, youth and parliamentarians to building stronger democratic institutions. South Korea’s democratic reinvigoration, amidst regional and global decline, beacons the question: How can South Korea position itself to provide stronger democratic leadership in Asia?

This event will feature two panel discussions, exploring how Korea’s democracy has been rejuvenated following the Candlelight Movement, and how South Korea can become a more robust leader to defend and promote democracy in the Asia region during a time where we see a major vacuum of traditional democratic leadership.

featuring opening remarks by 
Mr. Carl Gershman, President, National Endowment for Democracy

Kathleen Stephens, President & CEO, Korea Economic Institute of America

Panel 1: Democratic Progress in South Korea

Prof. Dukjin Chang, Professor, Seoul National University
Dr. Bong-Scuk Sohn, Founder & President, Center for Korean Women and Politics
Dr. Jisoo Kim, Director, George Washington Institute for Korean Studies (Moderator)

Panel 2: South Korea’s Democracy Agenda in the Region

Prof. Taekyoon Kim, Professor, Seoul National University & Korea International Cooperation Agency (KOICA)
Dr. Jinock Lee, President, Korea Women’s Political Solidarity
Mr. Ichal Supriadi, Secretary General, Asia Democracy Network (ADN)
Dr. Lynn Lee, Associate Director (Asia Program), National Endowment for Democracy (Moderator)

Speaker bios

 Carl Gershman is President of the National Endowment for Democracy, a private, congressionally supported grant-making institution with the mission to strengthen democratic institutions around the world through nongovernmental efforts. In addition to presiding over the Endowment’s grants program in Africa, Asia, the Middle East, Eastern Europe, the former Soviet Union and Latin America, he has overseen the creation of the quarterly Journal of DemocracyInternational Forum for Democratic Studies,  the Reagan-Fascell Democracy Fellows Program, and the Center for International Media Assistance. He also took the lead in launching in New Delhi in 1999 the World Movement for Democracy, which is a global network of democracy practitioners and scholars. Mr. Gershman is currently encouraging other democracies to establish their own foundations devoted to the promotion of democratic institutions in the world.

Ambassador (ret.) Kathleen Stephens is a former American diplomat.  She was U.S. Ambassador to the Republic of Korea 2008-2011. Other overseas assignments included postings to China, former Yugoslavia, Portugal, Northern Ireland, where she was U.S. Consul General in Belfast during the negotiations culminating in the 1998 Good Friday Agreement, and India, where she was U.S. Charge ‘d Affaires (2014-2015). Ambassador Stephens also served in a number of policy positions in Washington at the Department of State and the White House. These included acting Under Secretary of State for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs (2012), Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific Affairs (2005-2007), Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs (2003-2005), and National Security Council Director for European Affairs at the Clinton White House. Stephens was William J. Perry Fellow for Korea at Stanford University 2015-2018. She is a Mansfield Foundation Distinguished Fellow, Pacific Century Institute board chairman, vice-chair of the board of trustees for The Asia Foundation, and on the board of The Korea Society. Ambassador Stephens has been President and CEO of the Korea Economic Institute of America since September 2018, based in Washington, DC.

Prof. Dukjin Chang is a Professor in the Department of Sociology at Seoul National University. Additionally, he serves as the Chair of International Affairs for the Korean Sociological Association and the Secretary General of the East Asian Sociological Association.

Dr. Jisoo Kim is the Director of the George Washington Institute for Korean Studies, where she serves as Korea Foundation Associate Professor of History, International Affairs, and East Asian Languages and Literatures. Her areas of expertise include gender and legal history of early modern Korea.

Dr. Taekyoon Kim is a Professor of International Development and Associate Dean for Student Affairs at Seoul National University. Additionally, he serves as the Executive Secretary of the Korean Association of Human Rights Studies and as the Non-Executive Director of the Korea International Cooperation Agency (KOICA).

Dr. Jinock Lee is the President of the Korea Women’s Political Solidarity, an advocacy and research organization dedicated to women’s political empowerment and participation.

Dr. Lynn Lee is the Associate Director for NED’s Asia Program.

Dr. Bong-Scuk Sohn, a former Member of Parliament from the Korean Democratic Party, is the Founder and President of the Center for Korean Women and Politics. Additionally, she served as the commissioner (1999) and chair (2001) of UN Electoral Commission of East Timor.

Mr. Ichal Supriadi is the Secretary General of the Asia Democracy Network (ADN), where he promotes democratization and democratic governance at all levels of society through effective solidarity and cooperation among civil society organizations and democracy advocates in Asia.

*This event is sponsored by the Korea Foundation.