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NIAS director Geir Helgesen to give IIAS Annual lecture

A user's manual to North Korea: Matters and issues that shape relations between them and us

IIAS Annual Lecture 2012, 19 September by Dr. Geir Helgesen (Director, Nordic Institute of Asian Studies)
Regardless of the general lack of solid information about North Korea, few countries with such a relatively insignificant international importance appear more often in the media. This summer a new leader has electrified media outlets by being seen with a young lady by his side. Although this is positive compared with former causes for international media attention, such as the testing of nuclear devices and other military activities, or natural disasters and consequent human suffering, our picture of North Korea is less than adequate. This notwithstanding, there are good reasons for paying attention to the media coverage, as it is this – and not much else – that forms our ideas and impressions of the country. By being relatively inaccessible and representing some kind of international abnormality, the media creates a framework within which North Korea can be dealt with, and this framework affects the main public, as well as scholars in the field. Characterized as the last communist dictatorship in a world increasingly liberated by the expansion of free market economies and liberal democracy, North Korea appears basically to be a remnant from a recent past. With the ever dominant picture of a Stalinist-like dictator as the front figure of a system inhumane in its core functions, the nuances tend to not only disappear, but even to be unwanted. The lecture will challenge this framework and offer a different approach to the country, and thus hint to what could be a user’s manual to North Korea.
IIAS (International Institute for Asian Studies) annual lectures are organised to bring together all those interested in Asia, including academics, students, politicians, business representatives and journalists. IIAS is based in Leiden, the Netherlands.
Registration is free of charge. Please register here: