Conference Program

Korean Civilization and Paths to Peace & Reunification 

Dates: March 17-18, 2023

Location: Asian Arts Initiative (3rd Floor), 1219 Vine St, Philadelphia

This year marks the 70th anniversary of the Korean War Armistice. On this historic occasion, we in Philadelphia will lift up the call for peace among the American people to discuss the situation in the Korean peninsula and seek a path toward peace for our city, our nation, and our world.

This two-day event is free and open to the public. It will also be live-streamed on our Facebook and YouTube pages.

YouTube Livestream for Day 1

YouTube Livestream for Day 2

Friday, March 17

A Civilization of Peace: Korea's Past, Present, and Future

An evening of art, film, and culture to celebrate the ancient and modern contributions of the Korean people to world humanity

5:00 PM - 7:30 PM

5:00 - 5:40

Introduction and Opening Remarks

5:40 - 6:35

Documentary Screening: North Korea: Beyond the DMZ

6:35 - 7:30

Discussion and Exhibition Viewing

Saturday, March 18

For World Peace & Democracy: Korea and Our Common Destiny

A day of panels and discussions to uncover a path toward peace for Korea and for the American people in a time of global change

10:00 AM - 5:00 PM

10:00 - 11:00

Introduction and Opening Remarks

11:00 - 12:30

Panel 1: 'Civilization & Modernity: A Task for the People'

Moderator: Serafina Harris
Panelists: Nuri Yi, Anna Pugsley Koh, Emily Dong

The concept of civilization has been largely taken over by reaction — including by the imperialist ruling elite, for whom Western civilization is the advanced, modern standard against which all non-Western civilizations appear backward. In a time of the “collapse of the West” and the resurging world importance of civilizations such as Russia, China, and India, we believe it necessary to reconsider the framework of civilization as an object for the people to determine and make. In this panel, we will discuss the rise of Asia and new possible standards for modernity through Du Bois, exploring the role of imperialism in disrupting and overdetermining civilizations and their potential (especially in the case of Korea), and all of this in relation to the present and future development of the American people.

12:30 - 1:30


1:30 - 2:00

Korean Drum and Dance Performance

The Korean School of Southern New Jersey

2:00 - 3:30

Panel 2: 'Korea and the Forward March of Humanity'

Moderator: Anna Pugsley Koh
Panelists: Jahan Choudhry, Alice Li, Jeremiah Kim

In this panel, we seek to uncover and share critical knowledge which has been kept from the American and South Korean people. All knowledge, insofar as it is really true, must have a moral dimension which compels responsibility: our purpose is to revive the moral spirit necessary to achieve Martin Luther King Jr’s Beloved Community. We will discuss the wide-ranging foreign relations of North Korea and the potential role of smaller states in an emerging world order defined as international democracy. We will examine the South Korean struggle for democracy, peace, and reunification in the context of the world peace and anti-colonial movements, and the devastating impact of anticommunism in the struggle for self-determination and unity. Lastly, we will explore the capacity and achievements of the North Korean people through their state and social relations, to understand the necessary roles and possible contributions of both the Korean and American people toward peace and progress in King’s Single Garment of Destiny.

3:30 - 5:00

Community Discussion: 'The Democratic Demand for Peace Amid the Crisis of War'

Moderators: Jeremiah Kim, Nuri Yi
Participants: Garland Nixon, Hye-Jung Park, Brandon Do, Xiao Yin Ma

From the war in Ukraine to rising tensions in the Korean peninsula, the question of war and peace looms large in the minds of the American people. It is a question that cuts to the essence of American democracy and its betrayal: Can a society really claim to be democratic when the broad mass of its people have no real voice in determining whether their government funds and wages wars that could threaten the existence of humankind? Through this community discussion, we aim to put the question of peace on the table for ordinary people to independently discuss and decide, and in so doing, to expand their democratic capacity to chart a new path forward for this nation.