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ISE academics participate in Seoul conference on borderlands

From 10-12 November 2016, three ISE staff members took part in a major international conference in Seoul entitled 'Borderlands for Peaceful Coexistence in Korea and Beyond'.

The conference was organised by the Institute of Trans-division and Border Studies, Shinhan University, Seoul, and the Gyeonggi-do provincial government. Gyeonggi-do is the largest province in South Korea, with a population of 12 million and a border with North Korea.

In their contributions, ISE's Dr Dongjin Kim, Dr Gillian Wylie, and Dr David Mitchell examined aspects of the Irish peacemaking experience, parallels with the Korean situation, and broader developments in Europe regarding borders and migration.

Dr Kim compared the Irish conflict and peace process with South-North Korean relations over several decades, noting that Korea has been described as 'the Ireland of East Asia'.

Dr Mitchell analysed differing interpretations of the 'the Troubles' and the 1998 Good Friday Agreement. In an extended response, Dr. J.R. Kim of the South Korean Ministry of Unification identified a number of similarities in the Korean and Irish cases, including constitutional issues, difficulties of trust and negotiation, and the challenges faced by border regions.

In her paper, Dr. Wylie examined the wider European context in which borders and migration are increasingly 'securitised' in domestic and international political discourse.

Representatives of the South Korean government, the Gyeonggi-do government and the Irish Embassy were in attendance, as well as academics, students, and civil society figures. Conference participants also came from Russia, Germany, Sweden, England, the United States and Japan.

The conference concluded with a day tour of various sites along the Demilitarized Zone, a 4km wide, 250km long buffer zone between North and South Korea.

The ISE team was delighted to meet with past ISE students Sarah Wallace, Seo Jeong Son and Hyuk-Min Kang. ISE looks forward to fostering closer links with Korea in the future, continuing the exchange of peacemaking knowledge and experience between the two regions.

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Last updated 21 November 2016 by Irish School of Ecumenics (Email).