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Our inaugural May 2021 virtual conferenced featured seven distinguished speakers across five different panels centered around our theme: "Building Resilience in the New World."



Advocacy & Social Justice
Professor Todd Henry discusses the history of 'queer' lives in Korea, following female-born and male-born people who were sexually non-normative and gender-variant in post-war Korea throughout the authoritarian times. The panel also highlighted contemporary queer activism in Korea.

Business & Markets
Drawing from his illustrious career in the high-tech and VC space, Professor Jihoon Rim addresses primarily college students on a wide range of topics spanning leadership, business, entrepreneurship, blockchain, and technology trends..

Culture, Arts & Media
A conversation with Julia Kim, the casting director of Minari, focused on the meteoric rise of Korean representation and recognition in mainstream entertainment and arts platforms, as well as the experience of working as a Korean person in Hollywood.

Technology & Innovation
Alex Chung, CEO & Co-Founder of Giphy shared his experiences in the tech industry and how his Korean American background has shaped his professional career. Through this panel, we explored the usage of technology in the “new world” of social change and using tech to stay “resilient.”

Geopolitics & International Relations
"A US-ROK Alliance for the Future." The Republic of Korea is strategically placed near some of the world’s biggest hotspots today. It faces a nuclear threat from the North, navigates the challenges of the increasing US-China divide up close, and must grapple with its currently strained relationship with neighbor and fellow US ally, Japan. Seoul was also seen neglected during the US’ recent withdrawals from the international sphere. The international community at large can feel the US’ leadership in the traditional rules-based world order beginning to crack. So where to from here?




Alex Chung is the founder and CEO of GIPHY, the company animating conversations through GIFs, Stickers, Clips, and more. Previously, he was a Hacker in Residence at Betaworks and directed media technology for MTV, Viacom, and Comcast, managed research for Paul Allen’s R&D lab, and started his career as a hardware engineer at Intel. He’s a serial entrepreneur whose past projects include

The Fridge (a private social network acquired by Google) and several others.

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Dr. Victor Cha is the Senior Vice President and the inaugural holder of the Korea Chair at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, the nation’s top think tank. He is also Professor of Government, Vice Dean, and DS Song-KF Chair in the School of Foreign Service at Georgetown University. He was formerly the Director for Asian Affairs at the National Security Council and was the deputy head for the US delegation at the Six-Party Talks in Beijing.

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Professor Susan Thornton was the Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific Affairs from 2017 to 2018. This was the culmination of 28 years of diplomatic service where she helped broker the US-China Cyber Agreement, the Paris Climate Accord, and visited Pyongyang to successfully negotiate the Agreed Framework on denuclearization. She is currently Visiting Lecturer at the Yale Law School and Senior Fellow, Paul Tsai China Center.

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Julia Kim is an Independent Casting Director. Award winning highlights include “Minari”, “The Last Black Man in San Francisco”, “Spa Night”, and “Hunter Gatherer." She also collaborated with Paul McCarthy to help realize his very ambitious “Coach Stage Stage Coach” film vision. Julia has served numerous times on Film Independent's various nominating committees and on the Short Film Jury of the LA Film Festival. In 2020, she was invited into The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, and serves as a member of the Casting Society of America's Equity in Entertainment Committee.

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Marc Knapper is currently the Deputy Assistant Secretary for Korea and Japan and has been in the role since 2018. Secretary Knapper was previously the US Ambassador to the ROK and has also been posted in India, Japan, Vietnam and more. He has visited North Korea twice on diplomatic missions, including the Yongbyon nuclear facility. He is the recipient of the Secretary of State’s Distinguished Service Award, the nation’s highest diplomatic honor.

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Jihoon Rim is a Visiting Professor at the NYU Stern School of Business. From 2015 - 2018, he was CEO of Kakao, one of the largest tech firms in Korea. In recognition of his performance as the youngest major CEO in Korea, he was ranked number 1 in the 2017 Korea’s Best CEO survey. Prior to Kakao, he founded KCube Ventures, amd has also worked at Softbank Ventures Asia, The Boston Consulting Group, Naver, and Accenture.

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Professor Todd Henry teaches at the Department of History of the University of California, San Diego. He is a specialist of modern Korea with a focus on lived spaces under the Japanese colonial rule and postcolonial afterlives. He is the Editor of 'Queer Korea,' which is widely accredited with bringing Korean queer history into the mainstream space of Asian scholarship. Professor Henry is fluent in English, Spanish, Japanese, and Korean, with some French.