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The last of our discussions began with the question, “Why Can’t We Get Along?” as we explored the ongoing rivalry between Beijing and Washington and think about how the rest of the world should respond. Moderated by Asia Society Korea Executive Director Yvonne Kim, Dr. John Delury, Professor of Chinese Studies at Yonsei University GSIS, and H.E. Akiva J. Tor, Ambassador of Israel to the Republic of Korea, sat down to discuss a range of questions including but not limited to the role of middle powers, China's position on Taiwan, how we ought to understand and engage with Beijing, and the implications our answers have for the world in “navigating shared futures.”
John Delury, Professor of Chinese Studies, Yonsei University
John Delury is Professor of Chinese Studies at Yonsei University Graduate School of International Studies (GSIS), where he serves as chair of the Program in International Cooperation. He is also chair of the undergraduate Program in International Studies at Yonsei’s Underwood International College (UIC), and founding director of the Yonsei Center on Oceania Studies.
He is the author, with Orville Schell, of Wealth and Power: China's Long March to the Twenty-first Century, and is writing a book about US-China relations in the early Cold War. Based in Seoul since 2010, his articles can be found in journals such as Asian Survey, Late Imperial China, and Journal of Asian Studies, his commentaries appear in Foreign Affairs, Foreign Policy, The New York Times, Washington Post, and 38 North, and he contributes book reviews for the quarterly journal Global Asia, where he is associate managing editor. John is a member of the Council of Foreign Relations, National Committee on US-China Relations, and National Committee on North Korea; he is also Pacific Century Institute board member, Asia Society senior fellow, National Committee on American Foreign Policy leadership council member, and Center on Strategic and International Studies adjunct fellow. He is a member of the Republic of Ireland’s foreign affairs advisory network and is invited to offer his analysis on East Asian affairs with government, think tank, corporate, and civil society organizations globally.
Professor Delury received his Ph.D. in History from Yale University.
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Akiva J. Tor, Israeli Ambassador to the Republic of Korea
Akiva J. Tor was appointed as the Ambassador of Israel to the Republic of Korea in November 2020. Prior to his appointment to Korea, he started his career as Director at Israel Economic and Cultural Office in Taipei in 1996. After joining Israel’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, he served as Deputy-Spokesman (1998 – 2000); and Deputy Director of the Department for Palestinian Affairs (2000 – 2002). He also served as World Jewish Affairs Adviser to the President of Israel for about three years since 2003; Israel Consul General in San Francisco and Pacific Northwest (2008 – 2012); and Head of Bureau for World Jewish Affairs and World Religions in MFA (2013 – 2020).
H.E. Tor received his BA in Analytical Philosophy from Columbia University (1981-1985), then pursued his graduate studies and received his MA in Political Science and Contemporary Jewish Thought, and an MPA from Harvard Kennedy School (2002-2003) with the support of Wexner and Goldman Fellowships, respectively.
Amb. Tor served as a paratrooper in the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) (1985-1987) and was honorably discharged as an infantry captain. His most recent published works include Building a Bridge Over Troubled Waters: A Jewish Peace Corps (2015), and The Jewish Blindness (2011).
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Yvonne Kim, Executive Director, Asia Society Korea (Moderator)
Yvonne Kim is currently the Executive Director of Asia Society Korea Center, having been with the inaugural Seoul-based branch of the Global Asia Society since its startup stages in 2008. A member of the Asian Women Empowered (AWE) Global Advisory Council, Ms. Kim has brought Asia Society and the presence of international businesses and embassies to the forefront of the Korean media through her extensive public relations network. By increasing overseas and local branding of Asia Society, she developed programming and financial planning for the prestigious and selective Asia 21 Young Leaders Program in Korea and Asia Society global fundraising. Ms. Kim is often sought after for her senior-level contacts in Korea’s public and private sectors, as well as in the international business community, to further global programming support, strategic planning, and public relations for global outreach.
Prior to joining Asia Society, Ms. Kim worked as the Manager of Special Events in Columbia University’s Office of the President for 3 years, where she developed and produced programs and VIP events for over 20,000 guests each academic year, including the World Leaders Forum and Heads of State visits during the United Nations General Assembly, with esteemed guests such as His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama, President Pervez Musharraf of Pakistan, President Jalal Talabani of Iraq, former U.S. President Bill Clinton, Prime Minister Shaukat Aziz of Pakistan, President Václav Havel of the Czech Republic, Zhang Yimou, Tan Dun, and the Honorable David Dinkins. Ms. Kim also held varying roles at Columbia University's financial management and administrative departments from 1998-2007, including the College of Physicians and Surgeons, Office of Administrative Planning and Financial Management, and the Graduate School of Journalism.
Ms. Kim is also noted for her contributions to news media. She has worked for Newsweek; WZRC-NY Radio Korea; and New York’s WMBC-TV Channel 63. Ms. Kim was born in Seoul, Korea, and was educated in Hong Kong and in the United States. She has a Bachelor of Arts degree from Columbia University in East Asian Studies.