Keynote Speakers

Friday Keynote Speaker

LAM Peng Er
Principal Research Fellow, East Asian Institute, National University of Singapore, Singapore

Dr LAM Peng Er, political scientist, obtained his PhD from Columbia University. His publications have appeared in international journals such as the Pacific Affairs, Asian Survey, Asian Affairs, Japan Forum and Government and Opposition: An International Journal of Comparative Politics. Lam's latest single-authored book is Japan's Peace Building Diplomacy in Asia: Searching for an Active Political Role (New York and London: Routledge, 2009). Other books include: Japan’s Relations with Southeast Asia: The Fukuda Doctrine and Beyond (London and New York: Routledge, 2013) edited, Japan's Relations with China: Facing a Rising Power (New York and London: Routledge, 2006) edited and Green Politics in Japan (London: Routledge, 1999). He is an executive editor of the International Relations of the Asia-Pacific (A Journal of the Japan Association of International Relations published by Oxford University Press) and Asian Journal of Peacebuilding (Journal of the Institute for Peace and Unification Studies, Seoul National University).

Saturday Welcome Address

KANG Kyung-wha
Distinguished Professor Emeritus at Ewha Womans University GSIS, South Korea
Former Minister of Foreign Affairs, South Korea

KANG Kyung-wha is Distinguished Professor Emeritus at Ewha Womans University in Seoul, South Korea. She served as the 38th and the first female Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Korea from June 2017 to February 2021. Throughout her career in Seoul, Geneva, and New York, she has been a steadfast advocate for human rights and women’s advancement.

During her ministerial tenure, Dr Kang spearheaded the Republic of Korea’s efforts to win global support for its initiative to engage with North Korea to bring about lasting peace and complete denuclearisation on the Korean Peninsula, while also deepening the country’s diplomatic relations with further regions and countries. During her tenure, she also actively participated in various multilateral discussions on human rights, nonproliferation, peacekeeping, development cooperation, and most recently, the COVID-19 pandemic response. After joining the Foreign Ministry in 1998, Dr Kang specialized in UN affairs. She consequently served as Deputy Director-General for International Organizations, and was dispatched to the Permanent Mission of the Republic of Korea to the UN in New York in 2001.

Later, serving as Director-General for International Organizations in 2005-2006, Dr Kang tirelessly engaged in negotiations at the UN General Assembly on various issues including the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD).

In early 2007, Dr Kang joined the UN following her appointment in late 2006 to the post of Deputy High Commissioner for Human Rights by then Secretary-General Kofi Annan. For over six years in the position, she supported and complemented the leadership of High Commissioners Louise Arbour and Navi Pillay on human rights issues. In April 2013, Dr Kang was appointed by then Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon to the post of Deputy Emergency Relief Coordinator (DERC) and Assistant Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs. Supporting and complementing the leadership of the Emergency Relief Coordinator, Dr Kang continued to give focused attention to vulnerable people and sought to advance their presence and voice in the humanitarian and human rights sector.

After resigning from the DERC post in October 2016, Dr Kang served as Chief of the Transition Team of the Secretary-General-Elect. Then, as Senior Advisor on Policy to Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, she spearheaded his initiative to realize gender parity in his appointments and facilitated discussion on the restructuring of the peace architecture in the Secretariat.

Dr Kang graduated from Yonsei University in Seoul, Korea, with a Bachelor of Arts degree in political science and diplomacy. She received MA and PhD degrees from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst in the United States. Her doctorate work was in the field of international/intercultural communication. Dr Kang is fluent in Korean and English, and speaks basic-level French. She is married with two daughters and one son.

Saturday Keynote Speaker

Member of the House of Representatives, Japan
Former Minister for Foreign Affairs, Japan

KONO Taro is a ninth-term Member of the House of Representatives of Japan. He has held positions as Foreign Minister; Defense Minister; Minister in charge of COVID-19 Vaccine Roll-out; Minister for Administrative Affairs; Chairman of the National Public Safety Commission; Minister for Civil Service Reform; Minister for Consumer Affairs and Food Safety; Minister for Disaster Management; and Chairman of the Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs of the House of Representatives. He is a graduate of the School of Foreign Service, Georgetown University, United States. He is former Chairman of the Japan Race Horse Association and former Chairman of the J1 League team, Shonan Bellmare FC. He has a wife, Kaori, and a son, Ippei.