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 plenum is a multi-day, multi-session conference organized by the Asan Institute for Policy Studies. In addressing the most pressing challenges facing the world with expertise from around the globe, the Asan Plenum aims to impact the policy making process enabling the global community to better deal with the challenges it faces. The Plenum features four plenary sessions and 18 regular panels over two days.
Asan Plenum 2013: “New World Disorder”
At the end of the first Gulf War, United States President George H. W. Bush famously declared that the international community was on the cusp of a “new world order.” Freed from the hostilities and anachronisms of the Cold War, the twenty-first century promised to usher in a new era of global cooperation and prosperity. Yet even as some scholars proclaimed the ‘End of History’ and the triumph of a liberal international order, others were already forecasting the chaos and instability that they believed was to come.
The world today has changed much since President Bush uttered those hopeful words. Indeed, open great power conflict has almost become a relic of the twentieth-century. Many countries, perhaps none more so than Korea, have prospered under the liberal free-market economic order of the past twenty years. Economic integration has given us the European Union as well as countless multilateral free trade agreements. And technological progress has transformed the world, producing remarkable innovations in every field of research, and improving the lives of billions of people. In many regards, the world has never been freer, safer, or more prosperous.
Yet, this new world order is also characterized by unprecedented instability and uncertainty. The American unipolar moment has long since given way to the dramatic rise of China and newly-emerging great powers. This generation’s greatest financial crisis continues to stifle global economic recovery while the old economic centers of Europe and Japan appear to be in irreversible decline. The Middle East and North Africa is in the midst of the greatest political upheaval and change since the end of colonialism. And, most significantly, at a time when many are increasingly questioning the very future of the current international order, the world appears leaderless. This is a time when real leadership and visionary ideas are most needed.
The 2013 Plenum will bring together distinguished experts and scholars to share their insights into the nature and implications of the current world order and prospects for the emergence of a new one.
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 will allow for maximum interaction among the panelists and participants. Parallel break-out sessions, as well as intimate group lunch sessions, will provide further opportunity for in-depth, focused discussions.