About the Asan Plenum

About the Asan Plenum

The Asan Plenum is a yearly gathering of the world’s leading experts and scholars.

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 and enable the global community to better deal with the challenges it faces.

The Plenum is a two-day, multi-session conference organized by the Asan Institute for Policy Studies.


Asan Plenum 2018 : “Illiberal International Order”

Since the end of World War II, the rise of the “Liberal International Order,” (LIO) or the “rules based international order,” has brought the world remarkable peace and prosperity. Today, however, the LIO faces serious challenges. North Korea is on the verge of acquiring a fully operational nuclear weapons capability. China, perhaps the country that has benefitted the most from the LIO, is now seeking its own “order” in East Asia and beyond. Russia is militarily challenging the expansion of the European Union, while the Middle East is experiencing persistent civil wars and military clashes. The proliferation of cyber-warfare and international terrorist organizations supported by “illiberal” regimes also threaten the LIO.

Just as serious are the challenges arising from within the LIO’s “heartland.” The spread of the LIO has had its own downside, including income disparity within and between nations and increased social and political polarization, even in countries like the U.S. and Great Britain. The election of U.S. President Donald Trump and “Brexit” have raised serious doubts about the sustainability of the liberal international trade order and the security architecture that has undergirded it.

As in previous years, the Asan Plenum 2018 will gather leading experts from around the world to engage in intensive discussions pertaining to this year’s theme. I hope that you will join us as we seek answers to these challenges.



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.