Gonzaga Professor is One of 16 Presenters
Violence on the Korean Peninsula seized the world’s attention in November 2010, when North Korea shelled Yeonpyeong Island, a territory held by the Republic of Korea, otherwise known as South Korea.
Three weeks later, Professor Amy Kelley traveled to Incheon, Korea, to address the 2010 International Conference on the Legal Issues of a Peace Regime in the Korean Peninsula.
Professors from Korea, Japan, China, Vietnam and the United States attended the conference, which also served as the official commemoration of the opening of the Inha University Law School.
“It was a most incredible experience,” said Kelley, who was one of 16 presenters. “I was overwhelmed by how gracious and welcoming the organizers were.”
Though the conference’s main track addressed concerns about a nuclear North Korea, other threads examined barriers to, and opportunities for, establishing a stable peace throughout East Asia.
As part of a track called “War, Peace and Women,” Kelley, who among other subjects teaches Comparative Constitutional Law at Gonzaga, spoke on “Conquest, Occupation and Ethnic Cleansing.”
She devoted a portion of her presentation to a discussion of the sexual exploitation of East Asian women – the so-called “comfort women” – by the Japanese military during World War II.
“My position is that there’s too much emphasis on doctrine, and that there should be a greater focus on remedies,” she said.
Despite the gravity of the event, Kelley said her Korean hosts treated their guests to a series of festive events, including a traditional, multi-course dinner, a presentation of traditional music and dance, and a tour of Seoul, South Korea’s capital city.
“Although I was only there for four days, I got a great introduction to Korea and would love to go back as soon as possible,” Kelley said.
Throughout her stay, she was assisted by a personal interpreter, Legal Studies student Jin Yeong Oh.
The invitation to present at the conference was extended to Gonzaga pursuant to a Memorandum of Understanding signed in 2008 by former Gonzaga Dean Earl Martin and Inha University officials.
During her visit, Kelley met with school administrators to discuss the possibility of ongoing collaboration, particularly in the form of faculty exchange programs.
“They’re very enthusiastic about future interactions between our schools,” she said, noting that no formal agreement yet exists.