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October 10, 2008 – Reunification: Building Permanent Peace in Korea, Berkeley CA

In partnership with U.C. Berkeley’s International and Area Studies, Institute of East Asian Studies, and Center for Korean Studies, the Korea Policy Institute will hold a national summit on the reunification of Korea and the role of the United States in this historic peace process. Held at the U.C. Berkeley Alumni House, the conference will bring together scholars, policy experts, and community advocates from the United States to exchange ideas, network, and establish a U.S.- Korea policy agenda for the post-Bush administration era.

Participants include:

  1. Bruce Cumings, University of Chicago

  2. Selig Harrison, Center for International Policy and Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars

  3. Christine Ahn, Korea Policy Institute

  4. John Feffer, Foreign Policy in Focus

  5. Martin Hart-Landsberg, Lewis and Clark College

  6. Thomas P. Kim, Korea Policy Institute and Scripps College

  7. Karin Lee, The National Committee on North Korea

  8. John Lie, University of California, Berkeley

  9. Ramsay Liem, Boston College

  10. Gi-Wook Shin, Stanford University

  11. Jae-Jung Suh, Johns Hopkins University

  12. Wen Hsin Yeh, University of California, Berkeley

  13. Philip W. Yun, The Asia Foundation

(and others).


The current historical moment presents the most significant opening in decades for ending division and political instability in Korea. Virtually every major social and political force in South Korea is pushing for unification.

Even the controlling conservative Grand National Party, historically a fierce opponent of engaging North Korea, has publicly and formally adopted a policy of engagement.

The question at hand is not whether Korea will move forward on reunification. Rather, what specific policies will the incoming U.S. presidential administration and Congress adopt in light of the extraordinary changes that have occurred since the June 2000 summit? Will the U.S. seize this historic occasion to help foster a lasting peace in Korea or will it throw up further roadblocks to unification? Although the current administration has reversed its earlier policy of not negotiating with North Korea, it has fallen short of fully embracing a policy of economic and political engagement. Against an unfortunate legacy of broken promises, deep mistrust, and aborted openings between the governments of the U.S. and North Korea, this conference represents a pivotal opportunity. Timed with the forthcoming elections, this conference aims to generate ideas and policy prescriptions upon which the next presidential administration can draw as it moves forward to normalize relations with North Korea, to denuclearize and demilitarize the Korean peninsula, and to help establish the conditions for an enduring peace in a unified Korea.

Highlights of the Conference:

  1. An overview of reunification efforts on the Korean peninsula — especially north/south efforts at reconciliation, demilitarization, economic cooperation, and cultural exchange.

  2. Perspectives from leading U.S. scholars and policy experts, many of whom have been pivotal in shaping U.S.-Korea policy agendas of past administrations.

  3. Analysis of the strengths and weaknesses of past and current administration policies towards realizing the denuclearization of the peninsula, advancing human rights, alleviating the plight of North Korean refugees in China, resolving the economic crisis in North Korea, and supporting north/south reconciliation efforts.

  4. Promotion of dynamic dialog among policy experts, scholars, and activists.

This conference will be held at U.C. Berkeley’s Alumni House, which is located on the south side of campus — east of the Haas Pavilion, north of Zellerbach Hall, and southwest of Dwinelle Hall. The nearest off-campus intersection is Bancroft Way and Dana, which is just downhill from the intersection of Telegraph Ave. and Bancroft Way. For a detailed campus map, directions from BART, driving directions, and on-campus parking options, please visit the Alumni House Information Page. Please note that there are several privately run, non-UC parking garages located near campus, as well.

This event is free and open to the public. The conference flyer can be downloaded as a PDF file by clicking here. The conference schedule can be downloaded as a PDF file by clicking here.

For more information, please contact


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