Hosted by The Asia Institute (TAI) on Sunday, October 11 and Monday, October 12, the fourth East Asia Youth Leadership Forum challenged students to take a global perspective on the geopolitical issues of East Asia and to propose creative and readily implementable solutions.
Forums are held approximately twice a year. For this one, more than 15 high school students came together at Sookmyung Women’s University in Seoul, South Korea for a forum during which they engaged in fruitful discussion about relations between the Koreas, China, and Japan in the post-Korean War period.
“[My first forum] was quite an experience for me,” said Chanwu Oh, a former intern at The Asia Institute who has participated in several forums, to J Student Reporters.
“The topic for the first forum was on environmental issues and we broke up into teams and discussed a wide range of subtopics from the spread of deserts in Northeast China to the marine ecosystem of Jeju Island,” he continued. “We first identified the central problems by researching in groups, then came up with proposals that took consideration of political and social contexts of them and made presentations displaying our solutions.”
Jessica Rah, an attendee, told JSR, “It seems somewhat similar to the procedures of Model United Nations in that we are given the topic to research and come up with solutions for problems, but it’s different in a sense that we get a chance to interact with renowned experts in related fields and receive constructive feedbacks and work in group.”
“I’m personally involved in a research class called AP Capstone and I think TAI forums are great places to practice research strategies, learn organization, develop presentation skills, and work with others,” said attendee Yu Jeong Lee. She added, “It was surprising to see how much effort and concern young students have about the future of our society.”
Dr. Emanuel Pastreich, the director of the Asia Institute and Professor at Kyung Hee University, helped the students undertake the project and delivered opening remarks as well. Numerous experts came together to deliver their speeches and to help the students, including Dr. Hyungyul Kim, a professor at Sookmyung University and the director of the Korea Center for Digital Humanities; Dr. Joho Yamamoto, a scholar at the Academy of Korean Studies; and Dr. Kai Jin, a China Power columnist and a fellow at the Center for International Studies at Yonsei University.
TAI hopes to expand its leadership forum forum by forum by inviting key scholars from different journals, universities, and research institutes. Each forum is enriched with high level debate and research into topics related to East Asia.