On the occasion of the 50th anniversary of the establishment of the Institute for Far Eastern Studies of Kyungnam University and the 33rd anniversary of the opening of the University of North Korean Studies, an international conference was held at the Hilton Hotel in Seoul on Aug. 18.
In the first part of the international conference held under the theme of “Establishing peace on the Korean Peninsula and the new government’s foreign policy direction,” Minister Kwon Young-se of Unification delivered a keynote speech.
Under the chairmanship of former Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade Song Min-soon, former key four ambassadors -- Ahn Ho-young to the United States, Lee Su-hoon to Japan, Park No-byeok to Russia, and Shin Jeong-seung to China -- participated in the heated discussions as a panelist.
The second part of the commemoration ceremony was attended by a large number of lawmakers, with congratulatory speeches from key figures from all walks of life, following a commemorative speech by President Park Jae-kyu of Kyungnam University, Lee Kwan-sei, director of the Institute for Far Eastern Studies, and Ahn Ho-young, president of the Graduate School of North Korean Studies.
President Park Jae-kyu of Kyungnam University said, "On the occasion of the 50th anniversary, we will let the institute take another leap forward with new determination and hope to realize a more lasting peace settlement on the Korean Peninsula."
The participants in the event reflected on the past and offered words of encouragement to support the Institute for Far Eastern Studies and the Graduate School of North Korean Studies to play a leading role in further developing and opening up a peaceful and prosperous future on the Korean Peninsula.
The institute opened in September 1972, the historic year of the announcement of the 7.4 North-South Joint Statement.
Since establishing a research institute to study North Korea and unification issues in the middle of Seoul during the peak of the Cold War, the institute has published over 150 research books and held more than 150 international academic conferences both at home and abroad.
It also focused on strengthening international exchanges and cooperation and nurturing talented people.
In addition to promoting direct exchanges with the former socialist countries, it signed MOUs with prominent universities in Vietnam, China, Thailand, the United States, Australia, Canada, New Zealand, and other East Asian research institutes during the period from 1992 to 1999, while strengthening academic exchanges and cooperation with them.
Meanwhile, the research institute actively supported the unification education project of Kyungnam University, which was selected as a leading university for unification education by the Ministry of Unification and as a leading institution of the Gyeongnam Unification Education Center.
The institute has also been operating a visiting researcher system called ‘Magma’ since 1993 to give young researchers with strong academic ambitions the opportunity to study freely.
As such, the institute has enhanced its status in the international community by strengthening ties with major foreign institutions, building close networks, and exchanging foreign experts.