Has an era of apocalyptic calamities dawned upon humanity? The answer still eludes us as the pale horseman of a global pandemic is wreaking havoc and unfolding suffering all over the planet earth. Humanity has united in one mind, yearning for “prompt resolution of the plague and the restoration of daily life.” But, the complete cure back to wholesomeness is not yet within our grasp.
The rise of another horseman that threatens our daily lives has been announced elsewhere. Earlier this year, the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists set the “Doomsday Clock” to mere 100 seconds before midnight, the closest ever in history. For the first time over seven decades of its history, the clock hand that warns humanity of their impending doom has been changed from a minute to a second. That humanity has only seconds before their obliteration so dramatically demonstrates how tenuous our existence on this planet currently is. In addition to the existing threat of nuclear annihilation and destructive cutting-edge technologies, the unprecedented acceleration of climate change in the recent years is the main actor that hastened the “Doomsday Clock” to the last 100 seconds. Compounded by the ongoing global pandemic, the dire global threat to humanity is an urgent crisis for all of us who live in this era.
Is humanity truly faced with the critical existential threat as lethal as proclaimed by the international society? Does humanity have no other choice but to “surrender or hope” as warned by the United Nations last year? Prior to answering that question, we must consider the fact that humanity is now entering a dreadful era of extreme uncertainty, that no human memory has experienced before, frequently referred to as the “Sixth Mass Extinction.”
On the 39th UN International Day of Peace, Kyung Hee University System will explore the political truth of these key global agendas. Building upon a clear understanding of the mechanism of the climate change, the fundamental issues of awareness and politics will be discussed: Why, despite the long standing objection of the academia and the constant warning of the international society, has the political leadership of the world collectively failed to act in a cooperative attempt to neutralize these common and genuine threats? Is it because of the national interest taking precedence over the survival of entire humanity? Or is the current political leadership structure simply incapable of dealing with global threats that far exceed the immediate domestic circumstances? Where is the social consciousness now heading, which often steered the force of history like a railway signaller when the political leadership is confounded?
Under the title of “The Era of Urgency, A New Horizon for Political Norms,” this year’s Kyung Hee Roundtable Conference in commemoration of the UN International Day of Peace will illuminate these questions. We look forward to the great participation and support of those who are interested in future society and the outlook for the young generation.
September 22(Tue) 09:00 ~ 09:30
The “midnight” of humanity is never far away—merely 1 minute 40 seconds left. The symbolic Doomsday Clock, which indicates how close our planet is to destruction, advanced to 11:58:20 in January 2020. The Clock is now the closest to Doomsday that it has ever been since its creation in 1947. Frequent signs of anomalies all over the planet and within humanity are signaling urgency regarding the time left for us. Global challenges such as the climate crisis, peril of war, and outbreak of novel diseases are hindering the sustainability of human civilization. If the future of humankind depends on our own consensus, how can we form reasonable public opinions? At this time of deepening tension, as indicated by the Doomsday Clock, we will determine how urgent the crises are and seek the discourse of transition to overcome our impending danger.
Overview of the UN International Day of Peace
September 22(Tue) 09:30 ~ 10:00
We are facing an irony in modern civilization that resulted from both the scientific and political revolutions. The mechanistic worldview and the principles of the free market ideology are no longer valid. The relentless push for development and growth, which continues to destroy ecosystems, combined with self-righteous humans and their infinite competition, will result in the end of civilization. There is not much time left. We must stop here and take a different track. One option is to establish a system for cooperation over competition.
|Reclaiming Cooperation in a World of Competition|
|Naomi Oreskes Professor, Harvard University|
September 22(Tue) 10:00 ~ 12:00
The existential crisis of humankind demands a new horizon for political norms. We holds a special talk to urgently discuss innovative imaginations and practical solutions for global citizens and future generations. Three of our brightest minds, who have been passionately exploring topics in technography, metapolitics, and international relations during the Great Transition, have been invited to talk about fundamental issues of perception and politics that this generation must address together. Why are we not seeing the reality of formidable global crises as it is, despite ceaseless questions and warnings from academia and the international community? What sort of epistemological transition is needed? Now that the conflict among dominant countries has entered a new phase, where are political structures heading? Is there any way to garner a political will to tackle this emergency, instead of succumbing to the threat? The set of questions that this talk covers are about urgent tasks that require our answers as well.
September 23(Wed) 10:00 ~ 12:00
Humanity is now facing great crises that are unprecedented. The COVID-19 pandemic directly affects humanity’s global reality, raising future uncertainties anew. Perhaps this is a warning about the climate-crisisdriven cataclysmic changes in the environment. A crisis that threatens human civilization requires innovative countermeasures that go beyond the usual responses. It is high time for us to reinvent our lifestyles in every way so as to secure our future while raising awareness about the global emergency. The discussions will search for answers to the following questions: (1) How can we create new norms and lifestyles that help pioneer a different, better future for humankind?, (2) What roles do the global civil society and politicians play in this process?, and (3) What kinds of changes can universities lead through education?
Miwon Scholar of Practice, Kyung Hee University
Professor of Politics and International Affairs, Princeton University
Henry Charles Lea Professor of the History of Science, Harvard University
Professor, Department of Political Science, Stanford University
Honorary Professor of Sociology at Yonsei University
Chancellor, Kyung Hee University System
Peace BAR Festival celebrates humanity's efforts towards overcoming conflict and confrontations to work towards peace and mutual prosperity. This festival began in 2004 with the groundbreaking ceremony for the UN Peace Park and Global NGO Complex, which was an extension of the 1999 Seoul International Conference of NGOs co-hosted by Kyung Hee University, UN NGO/DPI, and CoNGO.
BAR is an acronym for the 60-year tradition of pursuing a 21st century society that is "spiritually Beautiful, materially Affluent, humanly Rewarding."
The Peace BAR Festival seeks to create a global community founded on the common values of peace and mutual prosperity by bringing together academia, the UN, NGOs, business partnerships, and the public in various programs such as academic conferences, art and culture festivals, social service projects, and youth forums.
In 2009, which marked the University's 60th anniversary, Kyung Hee celebrated the UN International Day of Peace by holding the Kyung Hee Peace Workshop. This event was organized by the Kyung Hee University Global Academy for Future Civilizations