Literatures, Languages & Cultures

The 6th Yun Posun Memorial Symposium

Asian Studies at the University of Edinburgh, in partnership with the Yun Posun Democracy Institute in Seoul, South Korea, hosted the 6th Yun Posun Memorial Symposium in Edinburgh in October 2018.

The theme of the two-day event was 'Inequality in Global Cities, Seoul in Comparative Perspective'.

About the symposium 

Skyscrapers in Busan

In Seoul, as in any global mega city, inequality persists, with marginalised individuals and communities including urban poor, foreign migrant workers, foreign wives from South-East Asia, LGBT community, irregular workers with minimum wages, among others. Polarisation and inequality undermine the quality of democracy because they deepen existing social cleavages and create new ones, reducing social cohesion, and possibly leading to democracy being captured by power elite groups.

This symposium brought together academics and practitioners from a variety of disciplines to discuss the impact that various types of inequality have on the quality of democracy in South Korea. Cities are sites of innovation and innovative thinking. Yet, cities are also loci of wealth concentration and inequality. The conference therefore zoomed in on the case study of Seoul - through an analysis of various issues, policies, and economic sectors - and other global cities in comparative perspective.

Issues were examined in multi-disciplinary and comparative panels through a combination of qualitative and quantitative studies, so that a nuanced and comprehensive assessment of the theme could be developed during the conference. Alongside a select number of invited speakers, the conference also included contributors selected via an open call for papers, cultural performances from Korea and Scotland, and an exhibition of new art inspired by the theme of cities and inequality.

Special event with Asia Scotland Institute

In partnership with the non-profit organisation, Asia Scotland Institute, we were delighted to host a special event on the first day of the conference.

On Monday 8th October 2018, Stewart Langdon, a Partner in LeapFrog Investments and Chair of Asia Scotland Institute’s Business Advisory Council, talked about Digital Disruption.

Stewart is a Chartered Accountant and holds a degree in Law from the University of Aberdeen. He has 15 years’ experience in investment banking, corporate finance and private equity, and leads investments in LeapFrog’s priority markets in South Asia.

Conference organiser: Dr Youngmi Kim, Senior Lecturer, Asian Studies, University of Edinburgh, 50 George Square, Edinburgh EH8 9LH, Edinburgh, Scotland, UK

About Yun Posun (1897–1990)

When the University established its Yun Posun Memorial Symposium in March 2013, the intention was clear: to foster new partnerships between the UK and Korea, promoting longer-term understanding and the growth of contemporary Korean studies and culture in Scotland.

With such admirable goals, it was appropriate that the series of events should be named after an eminent graduate and the father of the modern democratic movement in Korea, Yun Posun, who arrived in Edinburgh in 1925, studied Archaeology under Professor Gorden Childe, and eventually returned to his homeland after the Second World War, briefly serving as President and becoming the country’s enduring symbol of democracy.

Find out more on the University of Edinburgh alumni services website

The home of former President of Korea, Yun Posun

The 6th Yun Posun Memorial Symposium

A two-day symposium on the impact of inequality in global cities, with a particular, comparative focus on Seoul.

Playfair Library
The University of Edinburgh
Old College
South Bridge