Overview of Korea Conference 2014

INDePth is proud to announce that Korea is the focus of its 2014 annual conference. For this year’s conference, delegates will explore Korea through the theme “Reimagining the Korean Peninsula: Global Forces, Social Change and Conflict Resolution” by assessing both the agents of change in the two Koreas as well as interrogating Korea’s engagement with regional and global forces.

The Kaesong Industrial Region in North Korea has been jointly operated by the North and South since 2004. It represented the only daily contact between the 2 nations, which are technically still at war since 1950. The zone includes 123 South Korean companies and assets worth about $895 million.
The Kaesong Industrial Region in North Korea / Copyright 2013 Reuters

Korea represents a unique case study as to this day, more than twenty years after the fall of the Berlin Wall and the collapse of the Soviet Union, the Korean peninsula is still mired in Cold War era divisions. Its contemporary reality may seem to reinforce traditional balance-of-power politics; however it also showcases the possibilities for a fracturing of global power relations through the dynamism of soft power, media representation, economic development and social movements. The issues surrounding the relationship between the North and South have been commonly discussed in static frameworks where the emphasis tends to be on the diametrically opposed economic, political, and social systems. This conference aims to pose important but complex questions about the two Koreas which will allow delegates to contemplate the larger scale issues of security, social change and conflict resolution in the peninsula.

INDePth hosts an environment for students to critically assess the current situation and creatively come up with pathways for the future of the Korean Peninsula.

These critical questions lay the foundation for our endeavor to engage students, practitioners and leading scholars. The unorthodox structure of the conference combines traditional expert panels with workshops and “unconference” sessions in which students initiate and lead discussions.

The INDePth experience encourages students across disciplines to apply what they have learned in the classroom, daring them to challenge and move beyond existing boundaries and start meaningful conversations about development.

By the end of the conference student participants will be able to better understand the complexity of both the dynamic relationship between the two Koreas and the peninsula’s engagement with external forces. INDePth challenges its students by allowing them to work with leading scholars, experts, and NGOs to develop a stronger understanding of the world we live in today.

INDePth is an annual conference at the University of Toronto. The inaugural conference in 2012 used Indonesia as a case study to spark discussions on government policies, global health aid, and resource extraction in the developing world, as well as the direct consequences and innovative capabilities of these development strategies. In 2013, INDePth examined the notion of the end of development to assess China’s sustainability. The conference received generous support from sponsors including the Asian Institute at the University of Toronto and the Asia Pacific Foundation of Canada, and over hundreds of students from institutions nationwide and globally. INDePth now seeks further its expansion.

Justin Patrick Kwan
Co-President, INDePth Conference 2014

Jungik (James) Moon
Co-President, INDePth Conference 2014