Video-conference with a former president


(CC) Gen Kanai

15th Korean president and Nobel peace prize winner Kim Dae-Jung visited us at the Korean Development Institute today. Amazing, what a circus! Our university is already surrounded by a 4 meter wall, and security posts. Today I noticed FBI style security guards on rooftops and entrances! The event was well organized, interesting approach on the day was that not all participants of the event were actually inside our school. With the help of video-conferencing, students from all over the world were able to ask questions to the former president. Topics included the current financial crisis, reflections on North-Korean engagement and his goals in life. 


Kim Dae-Jung has a very interesting life story; He has been called the “Nelson Mandela of Asia” for his long-standing opposition to authoritarian rule. He experienced several near-death experiences, including being kidnapped in 1973 and a death sentence based on seduction roots in 1980. He had been imprisoned for three years. In 1998, Kim was introduced as a president in 1998. 

Student questions

ASEAN, World Bank, GDLN and KDI selected students from a number of top business universities around the globe to ask the president one question. Interestingly enough, Kim Dae-jung lived in the US to teach at Harvard university, but he only responed in Korean today. Some international students took the effort to speak a few words in Korean, but most of them asked direct and honest questions. This is quite a contrast then the typical political interviews. The debate was held with video input from over 10 sources, narrated and translated in real time. I have participated in video-conferences before, but I have never seen one done so nicely!

3 thoughts on “Video-conference with a former president

  1. Anonymous

    Hi Ernst-Jan, good question! To bad, discussions were mostly concentrated around the recent global financial struggles.

    Kim Dae-Jung became president after the previous financial crisis, his government strategic approach made effect on Korea in recent technological developments. (semiconductors and small business approaches)

    I wonder how big his influence on modern life is; But I guess his biggest influence was in his strategy to gradually embrace North Korea as a equal, rather then a debate-by-force. If it works, we will see.

    I still wonder how this country could be so different in technological consumer behaviour. I’m amazed by the amount of innovations that are common here. Think of e-book readers, techno toilet bowls, mobile tv’s and pay-per-telephone systems.

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