About the Asan Plenum

The Asan Plenum is a yearly gathering of the world’s leading think tanks in Seoul to discuss the pressing challenges facing the world today. The Plenum aims to positively influence the policymaking process and enable the global community to better address these challenges.

Asan Plenum 2015: “Is the U.S. Back?”

American decline has emerged as a powerful discourse in recent years. A decade of war, a protracted financial crisis, and the return of multipolarity were all seen as eroding American global leadership. This also raised doubts about the American commitment to its partners and allies around the world, including in East Asia. But, today we are once again witnessing a resurgence in American power backed by groundbreaking revolutions in energy, finance, and military affairs. At the same time, transnational threats such as terrorism, cyber-warfare, and nuclear proliferation continue to call for global leadership. How does the “return of the U.S.” affect regional balance of power in different parts of the world? Can it overcome the strategic distrust that presently dominates interactions between great and small power alike?

This year’s Plenum will bring together distinguished experts, policymakers, scholars, and members of the media in Seoul for two days to provide insights and seek answers to these questions. The Plenum will feature four plenary sessions and 12 panels over two days.


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 will also provide further opportunity for in-depth, focused discussions.