The main academic component of the conference is the “Roundtable”. Each Roundtable consists of Korean and American Delegates and is led by Executive Committee Roundtable Coordinators. Delegates are a part of a Roundtable the entire conference that focuses on a specific topic within the context of U.S.-Korea relations.
Society / Social Justice
Diasporic Identities: Understanding transnational societies through diasporas.
Today, increasing numbers of people are living outside of their ancestral homelands. Throughout history, there have been numerous accounts of a demographic of people being dispersed across the world either willingly or forcibly. They fled their home countries in search of safety or more opportunities for themselves and/or their families.
The concept of the diaspora has been widely adopted in academic discourses on forced dispersal, immigration, displacement, and the establishment of reconfigured transnational communities. In a diaspora, the journey of finding their own identity is important to understand themselves and to assimilate successfully into their new home.
In this roundtable, we seek to explore the dispersal of different communities, the circumstances for these exoduses, and the impact they have on future generations mentally, physically, and culturally..
Questions to Consider: Do you consider yourself part of a diaspora? If so, how does this shape the way you define yourself? Do you know others living in a diaspora? How does being displaced and uprooted from one’s home country impact their sense of self? Also, how do people living in a diaspora retain their identity? How do people learn the history of their group and their culture when that group is spread around the world? In what ways do people’s race, ethnicity, and/or religion impact their experiences with immigration/ asylum seeking? What laws do both countries currently have in place to address diaspora (immigration, refugees etc.)?
Nature / Environment
Sustainability has become a hot topic across the globe. With the need for stable food access, fair land use, and solutions to environmental crises, administrations are transitioning to the reality of running their countries and businesses with a balance of sustainability for the future generations.
Consumerism and the environment are intertwined in our life. The products we consume and the rate we do so, affects the environment. How we feel about environmental issues changes the way companies market to consumers. With environmental journalism, fast fashion, and the political influence corporations have on our planet, there is a lot to explore in what is sold around us. Climate Change issues, including rising sea levels and global temperature change, might come to your mind at first when you hear about environmental problems and sustainable development. Truly, rising seas threaten many cities. In the acceleration of sea level rises, New York already announced a bold agenda to confront this, and some provinces in Korea are already suffering from floods every year.
This roundtable is more than climate change. Nature and the environment influence what we eat, how we travel, the provinces people live in, our purchasing power, and how we view our world.
Questions to Consider: What kind of education have you had in your country regarding the environment? What laws or movements does your country have recently to protect the environment? How much of what we know about our continent is true? Are the plants and organisms actually native? What are your hopes vs expectations of your administration’s environmental plans? What is your normal recycling routine? ROK vs. US How does the media portray your country’s sustainability efforts, or lack thereof? How does where you live affect what you eat?
Technology / Social Media
Our world has become a hub for technology. As advances in technology continue, we all interact with it in some form in our daily lives. There are multiple uses and purposes for technology in each of our lives – one of the most frequent ones being social media. These platforms connect society and bring the world together as one, and it can establish relationships between individuals near and far, and bring people together. However there are also downfalls to technology and countless things to keep in mind when using it and incorporating it into our daily lives. We ask you to think about how you utilize technology and what differences you see between societies and countries, including the United States and South Korea.
Questions to Consider: Pros and cons of technological advancement? What is the difference in technology use between the United States and Korea? What’s your position as technology advances in Korea and the United States? How does it impact you on a daily basis? How do you use/interact with social media? What is technology usage like in your country? (Ex. Infrastructure, Technology Development)
In September 2020, BTS’ hit “Dynamite” ranked first at the Billboard Hot 100. Soon after, the South Korean entertainment company that manages BTS became listed in the international stock market. Movies like Parasite have also gained global recognition which have made an impact on South Korea’s economic and national prestige. These milestones are not surprising. Since the 1990s, the spread of South Korean culture, or the Hallyu Wave, has not only made waves in increasing the global popularity of South Korean culture, but also in international politics.
History is the study of the past, however the ways in which we study past narratives informs our ideas about the world, ourselves, and each other. How history is told impacts our present day ideologies more so than we may realize. Our understanding of history is constantly evolving, just as we are continually creating and growing into our own identities. Given the impact of the past on one’s individual and collective identity, we will explore the complexities of history and it’s capacity to retell personal narratives. In doing so, we will reflect on and attempt to realize the kind of lasting legacies we want to be remembered by.
Is history simply a collection of names and dates that describe the past or is it a continuous dialogue that we engage with in our everyday lives? By looking at the telling of history with a critical eye we can better understand how historical narratives continue to impact our worldviews today. In school, the perspectives and lens in which we teach history has a critical impact on young people’s thinking. Together, we will explore the ways we retell our national and personal historical legacy, collective memory and representations of the past to understand the present and future.
Questions to Consider
- Who is in charge of telling history?
- How does one seek the truth in our current age of information?
- How do popular histories and historical fiction impact our relationship with history?
- How does history shape our notions of power imbalances and hierarchical structures?
- How can we examine stories more critically to acquire a more complex understanding of the events of the past?