14th KASC Roundtables
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.
Education is the key factor in the formation and development of human personalities and values. One's way of thinking is settled due to the education one has experienced, so all of us approach problems in our own diverse ways. Education has also greatly influenced and been influenced by the trajectory of society and politics. The future of a nation is determined by the youth who will inherit it, and so, governments place many stakes in strengthening and shaping the minds of children and young adults. In our roundtable, we will investigate the contents, methods, and value of education in Korea and the United States, and how these affect our careers and daily lives. We will also explore examples of how education has historically shaped both nations.
Questions to Consider:
Pandemics and Public Health
With over 42 million confirmed cases of COVID-19 as of October 2020, the World Health Organization has declared the Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19) a deadly pandemic. Since the emergence of this virus, countries have enforced varying degrees of safety precautions and health guidelines to protect their citizens. As evident by the Trump administration’s response in the United States compared to the Moon administration’s response in South Korea, how a government reacts to a global health crisis can be attributed to many factors. These include differing political ideologies that dictate appropriate action, social and cultural constructs that govern a population’s response, or even the lack of adequate medical care to address the needs of citizens. It’s ultimately this range in response to COVID-19 that the effect on public health of communities worldwide can differ dramatically. In this roundtable, we will explore how different countries and governments have responded to and combatted the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as the effect of the pandemic on public health across respective communities.
Questions to Consider:
Social Justice and Civil Society
The murder of George Floyd last May, and the resulting worldwide protests against racism demonstrate the inherent power of social justice issues and movements; despite a global pandemic, issues of social justice refused to take a back seat. The social, cultural, and political paths of America and South Korea have both been undeniably shaped and altered by conflict and popular movements spanning across class, gender, race, and sexuality.
This round table aims to explore such histories of resistance and adaptation within the current and contemporary periods of Korean and American society. Possible themes of discussion include identity politics, protest culture and the role of civil society, LGBTQ+ histories and experiences, and the overall relationship between governments and their citizens. We hope to compare our separate histories and experiences to trace movements of inclusion and division, and ultimately to learn how to support one another and celebrate diversity.
Questions to Consider:
Soft Power and Hard Power
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.
Traditional international relations split power dynamics into two camps: soft power and hard power. Soft power, or cultural international politics, has emerged as a persuasive approach to international affairs. It’s impact on diplomacy is less notable, but arguably just as or if not more effective than its counterpart. Hard power, or military or economic influence, has a more evident relationship with a country’s international capability.
Soft power and hard power have their own origins, and their own values. They affect the approach that we take towards international politics - whether we choose to subtly change attitudes and consumption, or whether we employ traditional means of approaching power.
Questions to Consider