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The Kim Dae-Jung Memorial Lecture

The Department of East Asian Studies at the University of Cambridge is pleased to announce the establishment of The Kim Dae-Jung Memorial Lecture in Korean Studies. Once a year, a prominent scholar on Korea will visit Cambridge to engage issues to which he devoted his life and to commemorate his connections with the university.

Press Release [PDF]

Korean newspaper article about the founding of the lectureship

Prof. Sohn Suk-HeeThe 2013 lecture was given by Professor Sohn Suk-Hee, one of the most widely respected journalists in South Korea. He is a graduate of Kookmin University in Seoul and did graduate work at the University of Minnesota. He began his career at MBC in 1984, serving as a reporter and then as a news anchor. He was the anchor of the show "100-Minute Debate" from 2002 to 2009 and has won numerous awards for his work. He teaches journalism at Sungshin Women's University and anchors a show on MBC FM radio - "Sohn Suk-Hee's Focus" - which is broadcast in the morning six days a week.

The inaugural Kim Dae-Jung Memorial Lecture was given by Professor Moon Chung-in of the Department of Political Science at Yonsei University. He has published over 40 books and 230 articles in edited volumes and scholarly journals, with recent publications addressing arms control, Korean unification, and ending of the cold war in the peninsula. He served as Dean of Yonsei’s Graduate School of International Studies and taught at Williams College, University of Kentucky, Duke University, and UCSD. Professor Moon is currently a board member of the Korea Foundation, the Sejong Foundation, the East Asia Foundation, and the International Peace Foundation. He is also Editor-in-Chief of Global Asia.

Often referred to as the “Nelson Mandela of Asia,” Kim Dae-Jung (1925–2009) was a democracy activist, dissident politician, and President of South Korea (1998-2003).

Over the course of his decades-long struggle against the military dictatorship in South Korea, he survived an assassination attempt and was once sentenced to death. His leadership was crucial to the victory of the democracy movement in 1987, and he later became the first opposition politician to be elected President of South Korea in 1997.

As President, Kim led the country through the Asian financial crisis and tried to break through decades of Cold War animosity by pursuing a policy of engagement with North Korea termed the Sunshine Policy. He went to Pyongyang for a historic summit between the two Koreas in 2000, and for his efforts to reunify and bring lasting peace to the peninsula, he was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize.

After his defeat in the presidential election of 1992, he spent several months as a visiting scholar at Clare Hall, Cambridge. He began his political comeback soon after his return to Korea and remained a devoted friend of the University until his passing. He received an honorary doctorate from the University in 2001.