LSESU KOREA FUTURE WEEK 2021 “CORONAVIRUS AND BEYOND”

PANEL 1. ECONOMIC IMPLICATIONS OF COVID-19

Speakers: Dr. Danny Leipziger, Mr. Kyle Ferrier, Mr. Troy Stangarone

The pandemic has brought drastic changes to the economy: from changing the structure of the economy (i.e. GDP to consumption ratio, GDP to export ratio, and size in GDP) to creating whole new economic policies and agreements. Despite the global ef ort to resuscitate the economy, we still witness the underperforming service sector, growing concerns over the future market performances frightening the investors and unemployment is also starting to peak. 

Amongst the nations who are faced with reduced durable goods consumption and investment, South Korea may be the greatest victim out of all. South Korea has always been heavily reliant on exports, especially capital and intermediate goods. With the prolonged global recession powered by the continued spread of COVID, the economy may soon be forced into a crisis. With these symptoms occurring globally, the panel seeks to analysis the current economy with regards to both global and domestic market. More importantly, we hope to discuss the predictions of the post-COVID economy; the mid-long term ef ects of our current policies. South Korea’s recent policies have been a big injection stimulus at the expense of the budget deficit. There are concerns that the policies were overly done and may cost us the risk of inflation and debt pressure. Through discussing both the past and future of our current pandemic, the panel seeks to identify and discuss the future of South Korea’s economy.

1. How far has COVID hindered the economy so far? 

2. Anti-COVID policies 

3. Post-COVID 

4. Economic Lockdown

PANEL 2. MIGRATION AND ETHNIC DIVERSITY IN SOUTH KOREA

Speakers: Dr. David Hundt, Prof. HaeRan Shin, Ms. Jirim Kim, Mr. Paul Carver

Over the past twenty years, the migration population of South Korea has steadily increased. However, although the number of migrants from neighboring countries (e.g. China, Japan, the Philippines, India, …), has indeed grown, South Korea is still deemed by its of icials as an ethnically homogeneous country. And when diversity is acknowledged, it is almost exclusively at the policy level. There are indeed specific migration policies that are devised to either 1) actively prevent the naturalization of migrants (e.g. the visa status of temporary low skilled labor migrants employed in the first and second sectors usually last three years; even if migrant workers succeed in being employed a second time, their extended visa status will terminate before they can reach the minimum length of stay that would allow them to apply for naturalization); or 2) ensure the cultural assimilation of said migrants (e.g. marriage migrants, who are mostly women, are not only expected to learn the Korean language and customs, and refrain from teaching their native language(s) and culture to their children, but also have considerably fewer legal and parental rights and protections than their Korean counterparts/partners). Given the evident attempts of the South Korean state to control its inward migration flows to preserve an overall perception of ethnic homogeneity, this panel seeks to discuss present and future migration-related challenges and policy trajectories that are shaping the Korean society, and its relationship with ethnic diversity.

1. Migration, multiculturalism, and cosmopolitanism. An analysis of South Korea’s understanding and instrumentalization of multiculturalism and ethnic diversity.

2. Migration, diversity, and the Media. An analysis of past and present politics of representation in South Korea’s mediascape. 

3. Migrants and Covid-19. A discussion about South Korea’s response to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic from migrants’ perspective.

PANEL 3. EDUCATION SYSTEM 

Speakers:

This panel is dedicated specifically to examining and evaluating the South Korean education system. Having done so, it aims to examine the role of the education system for students and evaluate the intended and unintended values that derive from it. The Korean education system has often been met with dichotomous opinions. On one hand, Korean students perform exceptionally well in aptitude tests run internationally such as the PISA (Program for International Student Assessment) exam. However, flipside: the Korean education system is criticized for only focusing on their students’ short term academic prowess; they have historically left behind most other parts of “life” and notably, mental health. This panel seeks to provide an academic platform whereby the education system’s past and current goals can be identified, explained and discussed. We also hope through this panel, the future of the Korean education and its direction could be discussed as well. This panel discussion attracts great relevance as education is a societal foundation for all countries and, with the targeted audience being university students and professionals who have or are experiencing education in the UK, the UK education system can be compared. The panel thus aims to discuss the features that should appear in a great education system.

1. The role of the education system for Korean students 

2. The culture in the Korean education system 

3. The traditionally viewed Korean education system and its recent changes

4. Moving forward 

PANEL 4. INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS AND FOREIGN AFFAIRS 

Speakers:

The recent US election has become a World’s interest in prediction of a drastic change that many nations would face, depending on which candidate will be elected. Since Korea has always had a close relationship with the US, China, Japan and North Korea, it has a great complexity in adjusting its international position regarding economy, diplomacy and security. 

As Biden stated in his campaign slogan ‘Build Back Better’, he will take a dif erent strategy in foreign af airs from the Trump administration. He will try to bring back the US’s position as a global hegemonic leader in terms of economy and politics. Here, The panel will automatically draw on the fact that there has been an ongoing power conflict between US and China where Korea as an US alliance and the largest trader from China, has been pressurised politically to show the interest in both superpowers. As a response, the main topics of the discussions will be: first, the US-Korea relationship where Korea has to respond to the Biden administration’s objectives and strategy towards their foreign policy, second, South Korea’s foriegn policy towards North-East Asia and lastly, North Korea. 

1. International relationship under the Biden administration 

2. Korea’s strategy in North-East Asia 

3. North Korea