Clements Center Concludes Summer Beyond Borders: Case Studies in Difficult Diplomacy, Korean Peninsula Edition

Jul 09, 2024

This year marked the Clements Center’s second iteration of Summer Beyond Borders: Case-Studies in Difficult Diplomacy and our first iteration of the program in South Korea, focusing on the historical challenges and successes of our important allies in the Republic of Korea and US interests in the Pacific. In June, thirteen undergraduate students from UT-Austin traveled to Seoul, South Korea to study the political history of the Korean Peninsula and the lasting effects of the Korean War. Students had unique opportunities to learn about the United States’ successes and failures immediately following World War II, our subsequent intervention in the Korean War, long term occupation of South Korea, and our important role in shaping South Korea’s economic and democratic political opportunities.

Over the course of two weeks, students attended several lectures from regional experts including “An Overview of Korean National Security Policy Through the 19th and 20th Centuries,” with Dr. Jaehan Park, and “Coping with the North Korean Nuclear Threat,” with former Republic of Korea National Security Advisor and proud University of Texas Alum, Dr. Kim Sung-Han.

In Seoul, students visited the Institute for National Security Strategy (INSS), the Korean National Cemetery, the LG Innovation Gallery, the Blue House (i.e. former seat of the executive branch), and Seodaemun Prison History Hall, which speaks to the history of strained relations between Japan and Korea.

Students also took numerous day trips to places including Hiroshima, where they visited the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum which documents the consequences of the first atomic bomb used in the hope of ending World War II. They also traveled south to Busan where they visited the UN Peace Memorial, the UN Memorial Cemetery, and the headquarters of Commander, U.S. Naval Forces Korea (CNFK). The last few days of the trip included visits to Gwangju, South Korea and the 5-18 Memorial Park, a key site in Korean domestic political history, and Incheon, South Korea where they visited the Memorial Hall for General Douglas MacArthur’s successful Incheon Landing Operation.

Click here to see more photos from this year’s Summer Beyond Borders.