Asia Society Launches the First Annual Asia 21 Young Leaders Summit in Seoul, Korea with Lead Sponsorship from Merrill Lynch

Prime Minister Han Myung-Sook and Former South Korean President Kim Dae-Jung to deliver key addresses

November 17-19, 2006

On November 17-19, 2006, a new generation of leaders representing a broad range of disciplines and 23 countries from across the Asia-Pacific region and the U.S. will gather at the Shilla Hotel in Seoul, Korea for the Asia Society's First Annual Asia 21 Young Leaders Summit - Shaping an Asia-Pacific Century: Challenges and Choices. Assembled by invitation, this delegation of dynamic young leaders under 40 will examine the role of values-based leadership and develop innovative, shared approaches to address global challenges and the region's most pressing issues.

"This Summit and the Asia 21 Young Leaders Initiative seek to do nothing less than build the network of the Asia-Pacific Community's young leaders dedicated to public service and responsible leadership," said Asia Society Executive Vice President Jamie Metzl, who has spearheaded the Asia 21 Initiative. "This group of amazing young people will educate each other on what it means to be true leaders and hold each other to those ideals through a process designed to last a lifetime."

The Summit will feature key addresses by Prime Minister Han Myung-Sook and Former South Korean President Kim Dae-Jung along with breakout sessions, panel discussions, performances, and a live blog developed to take on vital issues relating to citizen's media, art and culture, economic development, poverty eradication, universal education, conflict resolution, public health crises, environmental issues, and human rights. An Asia 21 Public Service Award will also be presented to an organization that has demonstrated a commitment to leadership and values in shaping social responsibility and raising awareness for critical social issues.

The identification of Korea as the location for the inaugural Summit represents an important acknowledgment of Korea's democratic, technological, and economic development as a model for the future of the Asia-Pacific region.

"As more markets open up in this region, this cross-sector approach to solving problems will become increasingly more important," said Dow Kim, the president of Merrill Lynch Global Markets and Investment Banking and an Asia Society Trustee. "Merrill Lynch is proud to sponsor this exciting initiative to strengthen the next generation of leadership in Asia."

The Asia 21 Young Leaders Summit is part of the overarching Asia 21 Young Leaders Forum, a leading initiative for young leaders in the Asia-Pacific region established by the Asia Society.

"The Asia 21 Young Leaders Forum aims to create a sustained network of tomorrow's leaders from all sectors - business, politics, civil society, media, arts and culture, and academia - and better prepare them for the future challenges and responsibilities of global citizenship," said Asia Society President Vishakha Desai. "Participants of this Summit will have the unique opportunity to collectively bring fresh thinking and identify opportunities for political and economical collaboration. As the world dawns on the Asia-Pacific century, the Asia Society continues its commitment to fostering mutual understanding and providing new, innovative forums for the multilateral exchange of ideas."

The Asia 21 Young Leaders Summit will be attended by both a core of 21 Fellows who are selected each year to serve a one-year term and approximately 200 invited Delegates. The inaugural class of 21 Fellows, representing 14 countries, convened in Hong Kong in February of this year to lay the groundwork for this Summit.

Join web discussions through the Summit blog where Asia 21 delegates will frame and analyze critical questions that arise from the summit. Latest information, including the Summit agenda, reading materials, and select bios, will be made available online at here one week prior to the Summit. Please see attached a list of Asia 21 Fellows. Interviews with participants are available upon request.

The Asia 21 Young Leaders Summit is co-organized by The Sejong Institute. Merrill Lynch is the Founding International Sponsor for the Asia Society's Asia 21 Young Leaders Forum and lead sponsor for the inaugural Asia 21 Young Leaders Summit. Summit sponsors also include Gale International, New Songdo City Development, LLC, and Lotte Group, who are involved as Corporate Supporters. Hyosung is a Corporate Contributor and Korea Telecom is IT Sponsor. Additional support is provided by the Korea Foundation, The Federation of Korean Industries and Kumho Asiana. The Financial Times, Herald Media, and Chosun Ilbo are Media Sponsors of the Summit. The Government of the Republic of Korea and the American Chamber of Commerce in Korea also provided support.

Merrill Lynch is one of the world's leading wealth management, capital markets, and advisory companies, in addition to one of the world's largest managers of financial assets with offices in 36 countries and territories and total client assets of approximately $1.8 trillion. For more information on Merrill Lynch, please visit

About the Asia Society 

Asia Society is the leading global organization working to strengthen relationships and promote understanding among the people, leaders, and institutions of Asia and the United States. The Society seeks to enhance dialogue, encourage creative expression and generate new ideas across the fields of policy, business, education, arts and culture. Founded in 1956, Asia Society is a nonpartisan, nonprofit educational institution with offices in Hong Kong, Houston, Los Angeles, Manila, Melbourne, New York, San Francisco, Shanghai and Washington, D.C. For more information, contact the Asia Society, 725 Park Avenue, New York, NY 10021 or visit

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Contact: Jennifer Suh 212-327-9273