A session of the 19th WKF held in Seoul in 2018. — Photo courtesy of WKF
SEOUL, REPUBLIC OF KOREA — The 20th World Knowledge Forum (WKF) or WKF 2019, one of Asia’s largest business forums, is scheduled to take place on September 25-27 at the Jangchung Arena and Hotel Shilla in RoK’s Seoul with world-class speakers and delegates.
Under the theme of “Knowledge Revolution 5.0: Perspicacity Towards Prosperity for All”, the forum consists of 106 sessions classified by seven tracks: Knowledge Revolution 5.0, New Leadership in the Age of Upheaval, Global Economy in Transition, The Future of Technology Innovation, Inside China & One Asia, Rebirth of Finance, Viva la Vida: Ways to Vivify Every Moment.
Around 240 speakers and 3,500 audiences will gather to discuss various agenda, with some of the keynote speakers having earned global esteem, for example, Mahathir Mohamad, Malaysia Prime Minister; Jack Ma, Alibab Group Co-founder; Steve Chen, Co-Founder of Youtube; Ban Ki-moon, The 8th Secretary General of the UN; Bob Woodward, Pulitzer Prize-Winning Journalist; Ben Nelson, Minerva Founder and CEO; Vitalik Buterin, Ethereum Co-Founde; Nouriel Roubini, NYU Stern School of Business Professor; Justin Yifu Lin, Peking University Professor; Tony Fernandes, AirAsia Group CEO; Jo Malone, Jo Loves Founder.
The first edition of the World Knowledge Forum took place in 2000, and was conceived as part of the Vision Korea Project, a campaign launched by the Maeil Business Newspaper (which is owned by the Maekyung Media Group) in 1997 to propose new vision for development to Korea and to the global community.
The following are several sessions to watch among the 100 plus sessions in the programme.
Vitalik Buterin, the Russian-Canadian programmer co-founder of Ethereum, will step on the podium of this year to share his insights into disruptive technologies. Ethereum is the leader of a new era of smarter and more complex blockchain technology and its open-source nature enables developers to create and publish decentralized apps for value transfer, social media, email, e-voting and other applications with great transparency. Buterin attended the University of Waterloo but dropped out in 2014, and went on to establish Ethereum Foundation, which launched a development project with over 30,000 bitcoins raised from its initial coin offering (ICO).
The economic war between the US and China is getting worse. The tit-for-tat began with a tariff and non-tariff barrier building, expanding into attacks and counterattacks even on individual companies. Now the two economic powers are almost at all-out war in economic fronts. The point is that the G2 war not only negatively impacts the two countries themselves but also threaten the whole global economy. For example, South Korea, which is heavily dependent on international trade, can be a victim of the war.
The trade spat will be discussed by two renowned scholars who represent their respective country: Niall Ferguson, senior fellow of Harvard University, and Justin Yifu Lin, professor of National School at Peking University. They will diagnose the nature of the G2 war and outline how it will develop. They are also expected to propose a solution to end the standoff.
The World Knowledge Forum this year will also provide a platform for a rich and stimulating political debate and this time will involve a close aide to President Donald Trump and a front-runner in the opposition camp regarding the US presidential election next year. David Urban, Chair of American Battle Monuments Commission, who helped spearhead Trump’s 2016 campaign in the state, and Bob Woodward, WP Associate Editor and author of his new book “Fear: Trump in the White House” will face off in this session.
David Urban who joined the United States Military Academy at West Point in 1982 is Trump’s inner circle along with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Secretary of Defence Mark Esper. Urban who is confident about Trump’s second-term win is expected to lay out the vision and policy direction of the Trump administration for the second term in office. Bob Woodward, an outspoken critic of President Trump, published the non-fiction book last year to reveal in unprecedented detail the harrowing life inside Donald Trump’s White House and how he makes decisions on major policies.
One of this year’s key differentiating factors for the World Knowledge Forum lies in shedding light on the K-Pop industry. Lee Soo-man, founder and executive producer of SM Entertainment Group, who is a global cultural figure and one of the who’s who behind K-Pop superstars, will be on the podium at the Jangchung Arena on September 25 to take a look at the past achievements and future opportunities in 2020 and beyond. He will also explain in detail the overseas market strategy for SM Entertainment’s new “Avengers” boy group SuperM. SuperM is a seven-member group consisting of SHINee’s Taemin, EXO members Baekhyun and Kai, and NCT members Taeyong, Mark, Ten, and Lucas. — VNS