About the Asan Plenum

The Asan Plenum is a yearly gathering of the world’s leading think tanks in Seoul, Korea to discuss the pressing challenges facing the world. The Asan Plenum is a multi-day, multi-session conference with each panel organized by an individual global think tank. This division of labor capitalizes on each think tank’s different strengths and expertise and ensures a diversity of opinion and perspective, so as to bring together as wide and deep a knowledge base as possible. In addressing the most pressing challenges facing the world with experts from around the globe, the Asan Plenum aims to positively influence the policymaking process and enable the international community to better address those challenges.

Asan Plenum 2012: “Leadership”

From the uprisings across the Arab world to the seismic tremors in the European Union, and from the
ravaged economy of the United States to the Fukushima disaster in Japan, the world is beset with crises, many of which resonate far beyond national borders. Such crises can unmake—or forge—political leaders. 2012 marks a particularly significant year for political leadership, with an unusually large number of elections and other political transitions taking place around the world. The Asan Plenum 2012 convened policymakers, analysts, scholars and members of the media in Seoul for three days of intensive discussion about the role of leadership in responding to a wide range of political
and economic crises around the globe. How are leaders responding to crises? Where have they been effective or ineffective and why? And how should new leaders prepare to face the challenges confronting them as they take office? This year’s Asan Plenum featured 23 regional panels and four additional panels covering a range of cross-regional issues. Four plenary sessions brought the heads of some of the world’s leading think tanks together with renowned public intellectuals and journalists to discuss the crises and broad trends defining today’s global political landscape.


In terms of both timing and location, the Asan Plenum is designed to maximize its impact on the unfolding global conversation on leadership issues. The “conversational” format of the plenum allows for maximum interaction among the panelists and participants. Parallel break-out sessions and intimate group lunch sessions provide further opportunities for in-depth and focused discussions.