Episode 12: A Closer Look at South Korea
Through the Eyes of Leading Local Voices
February 9, 2023 – This episode of A Closer Look is nothing short of a contemporary South Korea crash course. In just one hour, our expert speakers Seungjoo Lee and Schoni Song, give their views on the myriad of issues the country is dealing with. From the economy and the labor market to the declining population, gender inequality, cultural exports, domestic politics, coffee trends, relations with neighboring countries and yes: the ever-present threat from the North.
This webcast was moderated by Simona Grano.
Seungjoo Lee is professor of political science and international relations at Chung-Ang University in Seoul, South Korea and the Chair of Trade, Technology, and Transformation Research Center at East Asia Institute. He currently serves as Chair of the Advisory Committee on Economic Security and Foreign Affairs at the Korean Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Seungjoo has previously taught at the National University of Singapore and Yonsei University. He has also held various positions in academic associations in Korea such as the Korean Political Science Association and the Korean Association of International Studies. He is the co-author of The Political Economy of Change and Continuity in Korea: Twenty Years after the Crisis (Springer, 2019). He also edited, among other works, Northeast Asia: Ripe for Integration? (Springer, 2009), Korea’s Middle Power Diplomacy (Springer, 2022), and Trade Policy in the Asia-Pacific (Springer, 2009). His publications appeared in various journals such as Comparative Political Studies, The Pacific Review, Asian Survey, and Korean Political Science Review. His current research focuses on the economy-security nexus, the U.S.-China technology competition, and global digital governance. Seungjoo received his Ph.D. in political science from the University of California at Berkeley.
Schoni Seung Hyun Song is a public affairs and government relations consultant at Macoll Consulting Group based in Seoul, South Korea. He is a specialist in public policy and program management with broad industry experience accumulated across major think tanks and institutions in Korea and the United States. Previously, Schoni served as a consultant for the U.S. Department of State and as a program officer for Asia Society Korea and the Republic of Korea National Assembly, where he worked on programs with a focus on security and international affairs. Since joining Macoll Consulting Group, he has undertaken key roles in intelligence gathering and stakeholder management across a wide range of projects including trade relations, ICT, healthcare, chemicals, defense, F&B, and climate change. Schoni holds a bachelor’s degree in Political Science and International Relations from Yonsei University and a Master of International Affairs from Columbia University School of International and Public Affairs.
Simona A. Grano is Senior Lecturer and Director of the Taiwan Studies Project at the University of Zurich. She completed her Ph.D. in Chinese Studies at Ca' Foscari University of Venice, Italy. She has held research positions and taught China Studies and Taiwan Studies at her alma mater, at the University of Zurich in Switzerland and at the National Cheng'chi University in Taiwan. She has also been a visiting scholar at the University of Hong Kong and is a research fellow of the European Research Center on Contemporary Taiwan (ERCCT), in Tübingen, Germany as well as a research associate of SOAS. Simona's regional expertise centers on the People's Republic of China as well as on Taiwan and Hong Kong. She co-edited the brand new book China-US competition: impact on small and middle powers' strategic choices (Palgrave Macmillan, 2023), an examination of European and Asian responses to the escalating rivalry between the US and China. She is also the author of Environmental Governance in Taiwan: a new generation of activists and stakeholders (Routledge, 2015). Her co-edited monograph Civil Society and the State in Democratic East Asia: Between Entanglement and Contention in Post High Growth (Amsterdam University Press, 2020) analyzes the dichotomy between civil society and the state in Japan, South Korea, and Taiwan.