On December 12, SNU hosted an academic conference at the Hoam Faculty House to celebrate current progress as well as discuss future ideas on unification education. The theme of the conference was “Unification Education in the Era of Inter-Korean Peaceful Cooperation.”
In 2016, the Korea’s Ministry of Unification selected SNU along with five other schools to develop education programs and support research on unification between North and South Korea. Soongsil University, Ajou University, Chungnam National University, Gwangju National University of Education, and Kyungnam University were the other institutions chosen to develop these programs. They will use the upcoming two years to introduce them to other schools in the country.
Along with Acting President Park Chan-work and Korea’s Minister of Unification Cho Myong-Gyon, the presidents of the other universities as well as affiliates of the programs were present at the conference.
Professor Kwon Sung-ah of Sungkyunkwan University gave a talk titled “The Future of Unification Education in the Era of Inter-Korean Peace and Cooperation,” and Professor Park Sung Choon of the College of Education at SNU spoke on the “Unification Education for Inter-Korean Integration”.
SNU’s Unification Education project is supported by the SNU Institute for Unification and Peace Studies (IPUS), which was established in 2006. The organization recognizes unification an important issue for not only Korea but also the world at large and hopes to “create an effective research environment for Unification Studies by building connections with relevant research centers both within Korea and abroad.” Previous projects include the Unification Perception Survey (since 2007) and the Unification Research Series (since 2013).
At the conference, Acting President Park Chan-wook emphasized the importance of educating students on unification. “It is very important that we break away from the ideals of division and confrontation brought on by the Cold War and teach university students the values of seeking harmony and co-prosperity.” He also announced that SNU plans to establish a graduate school for peace and unification at the SNU Siheung Campus.
Unification Minister Cho Myoung-Gyon also gave several addresses. “During a time when inter-Korean relations and the political landscape are undergoing many changes, unification education is also transitioning from the existing education on national security to education on peace.” He expressed his hopes that the selected universities will play a central role in promoting this education at such a pivotal time in the nation’s history.
Written by Yu Young Jin, SNU English Editor firstname.lastname@example.org
Reviewed by Professor Travis Lamar Smith, Department of Asian Languages and Civilizations, email@example.com