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Panel A: Emerging Dynamics and Domestic Challenges in South Korea

Location: Rm. 1005

Mark Manson, author of bestseller “The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck” , posted a video of his trip to South Korea on his YouTube channel in January. The title of the video was “I Traveled to the Most Depressed Country in the World. The video, which took an in-depth look at a generation of South Koreans depressed by a culture of materialism and excessive concern for what others think of them, with no sense of community, resonated with South Korean society. Why Korea is the most depressed country?

In the past few decades, Republic of Korea (South Korea) achieved a prosperous economy and democracy. This aspect provides a cornerstone upon which to build South Korean fruitful economic, social and cultural resources and promote them beyond its borders. South Korea is the world’s most dynamic country with a rapid economic growth but it’s also faced up with various challenges such as youth unemployment, precarious working conditions, exploding housing prices, old-age poverty, insufficient awareness of human rights, insensibility about gender and minority that remain to be solved. The country is also constantly receiving grave and growing threat posed by North Korea, land and maritime territorial disputes, nuclear proliferation, offensive military alliances and unilateral trade actions.

Despite the challenges, in recent decade, South Korean culture has gained popularity worldwide with Hallyu wave thanks to the development of new technology and globalization. It has also influenced the world economy, and the rapid expansion of social consciousness on equality have had a positive impact on the domestic ecosystem of social, cultural, economic and legal industry.

However, Korea is changing rapidly based on its geopolitical position and unique dynamics. In particular, looking at South Korea’s current response to the global agenda and the challenge of inequality is an important reference for active engagement and leadership in the international community’s inequality agenda.

How is South Korea finding its place on becoming an equal nation? We will review this question by inviting three different fields and aspects: economy, law and gender.

Panel presentations:

Yewon Kim, “How can the law be a tool to realize equality for vulnerable people?”

Visiting Scholar, Carolina Asia Center

Miae Kim, “The shadow of rapid growth, the unbalanced economy”

Visiting Scholar, Carolina Asia Center

Jinwon Lee, “Reflecting Gender Equality through the lens of Korean media”

Visiting Scholar, Carolina Asia Center