The Seoul Forum for International Affairs celebrated the 25th anniversary in 2011. The first 25 years of the Seoul Forum, 1986-2011, has been a remarkable period both for the world and the Republic of Korea. This period is marked by such seismic shifts as the end of Cold War, information technology revolution, spread of democracy all over the world and the rapid rise of China. If we have to choose one word to describe this period, it will be “globalization.” The Republic of Korea has moved along very nicely riding on this big wave and has taken gigantic steps in democracy, information technology development and economic liberalization.
Since its inception in 1986, the Seoul Forum has focused its efforts on being a bridge between Korea and the international community. As a private, non-profit and non-partisan organization, the Seoul Forum has served as a window of diplomacy through its hosting of meetings, conferences and exchanges. During the first 25 years, the Seoul Forum has organized the total of 118 bilateral forums with foreign organizations and 213 policy dialogues with key decision makers in Korea and abroad. In this period, the Forum has collaborated with the leading think tanks and organizations in 27 countries. The Seoul Forum has fulfilled its mission and objectives mainly by building up networks both at home and abroad. Looking into the future, we will be pursuing this model of networking with leading policy organizations around the world.
Let me take this opportunity to thank our collaborators and financial supporters who have made the Forum to function effectively in the past. And most of all, I would like express my thanks and respect to former presidents, board members, and past and current members of the Forum for their dedication and contribution to the cause of international public diplomacy.