Global Disorder
Does the World Still Need the West?

poster of the event

Does the World Still Need the West?

This was the main question at the Geopolitical Talk with the topic “On the Consequences of the Current Global (Dis)Order”, which took place on May 20, 2024, at Seoul Youth Center Mapo in Seoul, South Korea. The Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Freedom Korea collaborated with Play Seed School, Seoul Youth Center Mapo and the South-North Korea Exchanges and Cooperation Support Association, and invited Sven Gerst, expert at political economy and philosophy, to lead a discussion on current global issues and consequences, focusing on the different perspectives from Europe, the United States and Asia with the goal of trying to make sense of the world in 2024.

The evening began with an opening speech by Frederic Spohr, Head of Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Freedom Korea Office. He introduced the moderator, Sven Gerst, and the two panels: Prof. Jae-Seung Lee, President of the Ilmin International Relations Institute at Korea University, as well as Don Q Kim, Editor-in-Chief, PADO Magazine. Both of them showed deep interest in the topic and provided inspiring insights in their perspective about the global situation and the role of South Korea.

Participants listening to the presentation
© FNF Korea

A lot of various guests from different countries and study fields came to listen and take part in the discussion, asking questions and sharing their opinions. Live interpretation services ensured that everyone could understand and exchange each other’s ideas and thoughts. One of the key discussion points, explored through live polls, was whether South Korea is considered part of the West. It is no matter of location and geography, but rather a question of what being part of the “West” means. The discussion highlighted that 'Western' values like global integration, the rule of international law, and democratization are increasingly challenged. These challenges of “Western” ideals, prompt the question: Shouldn't these values be considered universal?

At the end of the night, people went home with new ideas and thoughts about the global situation. With over 70 international participants, many interest was shown, and the event ended with success. The different perspectives from Europe, the United States, and Asia about the future of geopolitics and eventual looming tensions between different countries was definitely a heavy but important topic that made youth actively take part in analyzing the current situation as well as future perspectives.

*Jana van Wasen studies Modern East Asian Studies at University Duisburg-Essen and is currently doing an internship at Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Freedom Korea office in Seoul.