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Free, Ready-to-go Library Program: Understanding America's Longest War

Tuesday, January 5, 2021

CEAS East Asia Now programming and Public Libraries, The US & The Korean Peninsula: Understanding America's Longest War

Guest post by David Field, UW-Madison Center for East Asian Studies

The Center for East Asian Studies at the University of Wisconsin–Madison takes the Wisconsin Idea very seriously and sees Wisconsin public libraries as a natural partner in making this idea a reality. This past fall CEAS piloted a grant program for Wisconsin Public Libraries as well as a Sijo poetry writing competition with incentives for libraries and their patrons to become involved.

But the Wisconsin Idea is not a one-way exchange in which the “beneficence” of the university is distributed across the state. It is a conversation between the university, policymakers, and the community. Some of CEASs most successful programming ideas have come from the community. In Fall 2017 as tensions between the US and North Korea rose to “fire and fury” levels, staff of the Mead Public Library reached out to former CEAS faculty director Shelly Chan about the possibility of holding a public forum at the library on the crises featuring UW Korea experts. For the scholars Prof. Chan asked, myself included, it was a “no-brainer.” A half-dozen of us made the drive to Sheboygan for a lively Sunday afternoon event attended by more than 50 people.

Out of this successful collaboration with the Mead Public Library came our East Asia Now series which launched in June 2019 with federal funding from the Department of Education. The global Covid-19 pandemic forced CEAS to transition this series from a travelling forum to a virtual one, but with this transition has come new opportunities and collaborators.

On 28 January CEAS will be partnering with the Stimson Center in Washington, DC for a virtual panel discussion with international experts on America’s longest war. This past June marked the 70th anniversary of the outbreak of the Korean War. Although hostilities ceased with the Korean War Armistice Agreement in July of 1953, no formal peace treaty was ever signed. In other words, the war never ended. It lives on in a militarized and divided Korean Peninsula, a seven-decades old US military presence in and alliance with South Korea, North Korea’s increasing nuclear and ballistic missile capabilities, and deeply ingrained and hostile mindsets on all sides.

Amidst a rapidly shifting strategic environment and in a context of changing U.S. leadership, the panel will bring together analysts as well as former U.S. and South Korean military officers to assess the current situation on and around the Korean Peninsula. Among other issues, the program will examine what aspects of President Trump’s approach to North Korea the incoming Biden administration should maintain; how to understand the endless war mindset that continues to impede diplomatic progress; and the prospects for peace and diplomacy in 2021 and beyond.

The virtual panel discussion is Jan 28, 2021 3:00 PM CentralTime. Please use the following link to register:

I encourage any interested library to share this event with their patrons, become a co-sponsor of this event on Facebook, or promote it any way they think appropriate. We hope these East Asia Now events can be another avenue for collaboration between CEAS and Wisconsin public libraries as we attempt to live out the Wisconsin Idea.

Posted by Cindy Fesemyer


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