Human rights and public policies conference convened with great scholars
from around the world
Scholars from Korea University, SKKU, Stanford University, and University of Michigan participated in the event.
▲Changrok Soh, Director of the Human Rights Center at Korea University (far right in the back row),
taking a commemorative photo with major participants at the conference
Korea University held an international academic conference on public policy design for human rights at Korea University International Studies Hall at 9 a.m. on May 27.
The conference, hosted by the Korea University SSK Human Rights Organization (headed by Changrok Soh), was attended by professors from Stanford University, University of Michigan, and Columbia University, some of the universities making outstanding achievements in the field of human rights. The conference attendees also included human rights researchers from Korea University, Sungkyunkwan University, Yonsei University, and Kyunghee University.
Professor Changrok Soh, Director of the KU Human Rights Center, pointed out the current trend in corporate and public policy design. “These days, public organizations and private companies have shown a growing interest in integrating human rights into their business management. This proves that there have been on-going, active movements in designing corporate policies and national agendas which incorporate the concept of human rights.” He continued, “As advanced nations in the world have been trying to reflect the concept in their policy making, Korea should join the global trend.”
Louis Bickford, Adjunct Professor at Columbia University and CEO of Memria, participated in the conference as a keynote speaker. “Listening to the voices of local communities and incorporating them into policy making is one of the responsibilities that global enterprises and national governments should live up to.” He suggested that the Korean government and corporations truly respect the labor and environmental rights of people in foreign countries whose markets they try to enter or where they build manufacturing facilities.
Edwin Rekosh, CEO of Rights CoLab, a New York-based human rights consulting firm, was a speaker for one of the sessions at the conference. “I suggest that civic organizations be proactive in adopting a business model into their system.” He continued his suggestion saying, “If civic groups can be more professional and organized, they will have a greater influence on business enterprises. They can give advice to companies about how to listen to their employees’ grievances and handle them in such a way that they can protect the rights and interests of customers and investors.”
Jaesung Choi, professor from the Department of Global Economics at Sungkyunkwan University, presented the results of his statistical model, showing that the educational policy decision to push back school start times actually contributed to the improvement of students’ sleep rights and their physical and mental health. Known for his human rights approach towards educational issues in Korea, Professor Choi elaborated on his research. “As a result of pushing the school start times back by 45 minutes in Gyeonggi Province, teens now have 16 more minutes to sleep.” Although the number seemed small, he concluded that it has brought small but significant changes in the physical and mental development of teenagers.
Jeong-woo Koo, who was in charge of organizing the conference, said, “Korea is in the process of developing as an advanced country in terms of human rights.” He predicted that “If the principle of human rights is adopted in corporate and national management more actively, Korean can provide a good example to the global society.”