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Jeju peace forum opens to discuss climate change, pandemic, sustainable peace

Jeju Gov. Won Hee-ryong (L) speaks with Nobel laureate Abhijit Banerjee, a professor at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), via video links during a pre-opening session of the Jeju Forum for Peace and Prosperity on Monday. (Yonhap)
Jeju Gov. Won Hee-ryong (L) speaks with Nobel laureate Abhijit Banerjee, a professor at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), via video links during a pre-opening session of the Jeju Forum for Peace and Prosperity on Monday. (Yonhap)
JEJU/SEOUL -- An annual international peace forum kicked off on the southernmost island of Jeju on Thursday to discuss climate change, the COVID-19 pandemic and paths to sustainable peace.

The three-day Jeju Forum for Peace and Prosperity brings together more than 2,000 participants from about 50 organizations and institutions in 30 countries in an online-offline hybrid format due to the pandemic situation, the Jeju Peace Institute think tank hosting the forum said. Most of the key sessions will be livestreamed via YouTube.

Under the theme of "Sustainable Peace, Inclusive Prosperity," dozens of prominent figures and experts have been invited to give speeches and take part in the sessions, including former French President Francois Hollande, former UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon and Nobel laureate Abhijit Banerjee.

Also participating in the forum will be former Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd, former Thai Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva and former Colombian President and 2016 Nobel Peace Prize winner Manuel Santos.

On Thursday, the forum started off with a "youth" panel session involving Jeju Gov. Won Hee-ryong and Banerjee, a professor at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), speaking with a group of students about inequality and inclusive prosperity.

More youth sessions were set to continue throughout the day, including a panel session to discuss the difficulties faced by college students who became freshmen at the outset of the pandemic and their future.

On Friday, Ban and Hollande will lead a session to discuss cooperation and leadership to tackle climate change under the pandemic era.

Moon Chung-in, a former adviser to President Moon Jae-in, will join a session with former Ambassador to UN Kim Sook and ex-Foreign Minister Gong Ro-myung, who will be attending via video links, to look back on the 1991 South Korea-Soviet Union summit and discuss its legacy in light of peace and security.

A roundtable of current ambassadors of Egypt, the United Arab Emirates, Israel and others will be held to discuss peace in the Middle East.

The forum will be followed by another session with foreign ambassadors, including Ambassadors Koichi Aiboshi of Japan, Philippe Lefort of France, Sripriya Ranganathan of India, Catherine Raper of Australia and Eric Teo of Singapore.

As June 25 marks the anniversary of the outbreak of the 1950-53 Korean War, there will be a visual presentation of interviews of war veterans recounting their experience.

Archie Brown, a renowned British historian, will join an experts' session marking the 30th anniversary of the end of the Cold War.

Since its launch in 2001, the forum has grown into a regional multilateral dialogue platform for promoting sustainable peace and prosperity on the peninsula and beyond. It became an annual event in 2011 after it had been held biennially. (Yonhap)

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