The Asan Institute for Policy Studies held its first Asan Plenum in Seoul, South Korea, from June 12-15. The plenum, which the institute plans to make an annual event, gathered representatives of the world's leading think tanks to discuss a single global challenge, which will vary from year to year. The goal is for the dialogue to then influence the policies of the world's governments toward the chosen issue.
This year's plenum addressed "Our Nuclear Future," with the goal of providing "a much-needed comprehensive reassessment of safety and security issues which have crucial implications for our nuclear future." Some 250 leading nuclear scientists, engineers, policy experts and public intellectuals attended. In addition to several plenary sessions, a series of concurrent panels organized by individual think tanks focused in greater depth on a particular subject of interest. Since the think tanks that organized this year's inaugural plenum were mostly based in the United States, most of the participants were American citizens or work at U.S. research institutes.
One purpose of this year's focus on nuclear energy and security was to assist the South Korean government as it prepares to host the Second Nuclear Security Summit. The meeting will follow up on the inaugural summit held last April in Washington, which was attended by many leaders seeking to make nuclear materials less vulnerable to terrorists.