The University of Virginia will host several events this week exploring Korean history and culture, including a student-led simulation of the six-party diplomatic talks between North Korea and other countries. All of the events are free and open to the public.
The “Korea Week” observations begin Thursday with a 3:30 p.m. talk in the Wilson Hall auditorium by Michael Robinson, a professor of modern Korean history at Indiana University.
Robinson’s talk, “Understanding North and South Korea Through its ‘System’ of Division,” is a chance to hear a preeminent expert on modern Korean history analyze the complicated relationship between the peninsula’s two governments, said Susie Kim, an assistant professor of Korean literature and film in the Department of East Asian Languages, Literatures and Cultures in U.Va.’s College of Arts & Sciences.
“He’s really one of the senior statesmen of this type of scholarship,” Kim said of Robinson. “I encourage anyone who is interested in the region to attend the talk.”
On Friday, U.Va. students will take part in a simulation of the six-party talks between North Korea, South Korea, China, Russia, Japan and the U.S., which began after North Korea withdrew from the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty in 2003. The talks will run from 2 to 5 p.m. in room 120 in Rouss Hall, and will be preceded by remarks from politics professor Jeffrey W. Legro, Randolph P. Compton Professor at the Miller Center and U.Va.’s vice provost for global affairs, and from Leonard Schoppa, the associate dean for the social sciences in the College. Teams of students will represent each nation during the event, which is designed and moderated by the nonprofit Korea Economic Institute and cosponsored by U.Va.’s East Asia Center.
“You can think of this as a much more focused model United Nations,” Kim said of the simulated talks. “You have six countries that will be represented, and the issues will be very focused, ranging from trade issues to denuclearization.”
The participating students will be tasked with advocating for the interests of the countries they represent, and judges from the Korea Economic Institute will evaluate their performances afterward. Organizers hope this will be the first in a series of ongoing events with the Korea Economic Institute, including the possibility of the six-party talks simulation being an annual fixture on campus.
“It should be noted that this is not simply about issues having to do with the Korean peninsula, but global affairs and international relations,” Kim said. “It will be interesting to see what kind of alliances and agreements will be made on Friday.”
The simulation is free and open to the public, and students who wish to register to participate should email Jooyeon Huh at firstname.lastname@example.org. U.Va.'s Virginia East Asia Society, along with the Korean Student Association and There is Hope in North Korea (THiNK), helped organize the event.
These events culminate Saturday in “Korea Day,” hosted by the Korean Students Association, which will feature free food, information booths and performances. It will run from noon to 3 p.m. in the McIntire Amphitheater.
Korea Week participants are also encouraged to attend the screening of a South Korean film showing Saturday as part of the Virginia Film Festival. “In Another Country” begins at 7:15 p.m. at the Regal 3 on the Downtown Mall.