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Students Travel to South Korea To Explore Human Rights

Offered for the first time, 18 Ursinus students had the unique opportunity to spend three weeks in Seoul, South Korea in May and June as part of a course titled Human Rights and the Korean Experience led by professors Christian Rice and Kelly Sorensen.

Students for 14 different majors, explored both human rights and the Confucian and Buddhist traditions and human rights violations in World War II and the Korean War.

The Korean peninsula experienced massive human rights abuses during the Japanese occupation of Korea from 1910 until the end of World War II in 1945. and the horrific cost of war only intensified on the peninsula during the Korean War (1950-1953). This experience examined matters related to ethics and human rights connected to these wars–including the practice of torture–familiarizing students with the international human rights paradigm and its condemnation of gross human rights abuses.

The students also heard from a variety of guest speakers: experts on North Korean defectors, women’s rights, disability rights, and LGBTQ rights, as those issues play out distinctively in an East Asian context.

Site visits include hard-to-get-access mountain peaks near the DMZ overlooking North Korea and a vertiginous hike along Seoul’s ancient city wall.

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