Alumni Short

Meridian 180 Establishes Asian Base

Ithaca, NEW YORK, Dec 05, 2014

On November 28, in a major milestone, Cornell Law School’s Meridian 180 announced its first institutional partnership in Asia: the establishment of a Korean Center at Seoul’s Ewha Womans University, the world’s largest female educational institution and one of the most prestigious universities in the country.

“With this new partnership, we are deepening our existing relationship with one of Korea’s premier academic institutions,” said Eduardo M. Peñalver, the Allan R. Tessler Dean and Professor of Law. “At Cornell Law School, we are committed to training lawyers who can practice law on a global stage. Meridian 180 is a wonderful illustration of the Law School’s global reach and, more specifically, of its longstanding and strong ties to Asia.”

“This is a momentous event for both Meridian 180 and Ewha Womans University,” said Eunice Kim, professor of law and special advisor for international affairs to the president of Ewha Womans University. “For Meridian 180, having an Asian base marks its transformation into a transnational organization with a multinational operation.”

Launched at Cornell Law School in 2012, Meridian 180 has created a nonpartisan community of academics, practitioners, and policy makers who meet online and in person to discuss issues facing the Asia-Pacific region. With more than 650 current members exchanging ideas in English, Chinese, Japanese, and Korean, Meridian 180 calls itself “comparative law in practice,” with the goal of fostering cross-cultural dialogue, building an intellectual infrastructure, and developing solutions to challenges around the Pacific Rim.

“This was a crucial step in the growth of our project,” said Annelise Riles, the Jack G. Clarke ’52 Professor of Far East Legal Studies, director of the Clarke Program in East Asian Law and Culture, and director of Meridian 180. “We knew we couldn’t build our Korean membership, make an impact on local policy debates, or ensure the issues we’d identified were the right ones, without having an institutional base on Seoul and a committed local involvement on an almost hour-by-hour basis. As a result of this agreement, we expect our membership to grow substantially in the near future, and that these new members will take an active role in shaping the agenda for Meridian 180.”

Led by Kim, the Korea Center will host its first international conference, “Democracy in an Age of Shifting Demographics,” on March 31, 2015. Organized by Riles, Kim, and Ewha Law professors Kyungsok Choi and Wonbok Lee, the conference will include participants from Australia, China, Japan, Korea, and the United States. In the coming months, the Korea Center will focus on creating a multidisciplinary think-tank in Seoul, and will help launch a joint exchange program to allow faculty and students from Ewha Law and Cornell Law to teach and learn at each other’s institution.

“Through this partnership, Meridian 180 hopes to firmly establish our presence in Korea, and to build a new model for global partnerships between law schools,” says Naruhito Cho, lead fellow at the Clarke Program in East Asian Law and Culture. “Our goal is to create a platform where the world can see what’s really at stake right now in Korea—as opposed to what the conventional news and academic research portrays—and to enhance international, interdisciplinary, and inter-professional collaboration among intellectuals in Korea and beyond.”