Anyone with a passing interest in Kim Jong-un and North Korean politics might be making a move to Preston.Advertisement
The University of Central Lancashire is to launch Europe’s first ever masters degree in North Korean studies.
This Friday it launches the International Institute of Korean Studies (IKSU) as part of the School of Languages, Literature and International Studies.
More than 30 of the world’s leading authorities on Korea are to debate a wide range of security issues, including nuclear weapons, at the event.
Professor Hazel Smith, director of IKSU, said: “IKSU takes contemporary Korea – North and South – seriously. We will be getting away from the tired old stereotypes to engage in robust, careful research about the politics, economics and society of North Korea. We will also focus on the vibrant culture and economic dynamism that characterises contemporary South Korea, as well as the politics and international dynamics of inter-Korean relations.
“Our inaugural IKSU conference will act as a catalyst for generating new ideas and fresh approaches to the North Korean conundrum. Indeed the Government of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea is engaging in some very pro-active diplomacy to talk to outsiders, including a number of those attending our conference. We look forward to hearing some new insights and sharing experiences in what will be a fascinating two days.”
The masters degree is due to be offered from 2015.
Lord David Alton, Patron of IKSU and Chair of the All Party Parliamentary Group on North Korea, said: “I am delighted to add my support to the launch and ongoing development of IKSU. I have travelled to both North and South Korea on many occasions and found it to be a place where all those living on the Korean peninsula long for a lasting settlement based on justice, peace, coexistence and mutual respect.
“For the people of those nations, who for 60 years have lived side-by-side and experienced such contrasting fortunes, it may still seem like the impossible dream. By reaching out through mutual understanding and informed research, it is initiatives such as IKSU which can make a real difference.”
The conference’s plenary key speaker is former United States Ambassador to South Korea, Donald P. Gregg, who was also national security advisor to the first President George Bush when he was Ronald Reagan’s vice-president.