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#2. Hello to our Student Forums!

  • Date 2022-05-04 09:00
  • CategoryStory
  • Hit29589

Our spotlight series on forums continues with three newly formed and growing forums:LAC Forum, Indo Pacific Forum and the CAF. These forums share their plans and encourage students to see the value in participating in their work and demonstrate the power of student organizing and association. 

Latin America and Caribbean Forum, Gabriella Mendes (Fall, 2021)

The Forum’s objective is to promote dialogue between students, embassies, official representatives, and academics from Latin America and the Caribbean region to enhance students' capacity to become future leaders. Furthermore, the Forum aims to develop such interaction in order to strengthen Latin American and Caribbean representation in KDI School and South Korea. 

Prior to Gabriella taking the lead, The Latin American and Caribbean Forum was founded by Paul from Ecuador last semester. The Forum is led by Gabriella and her assistant as there are not as many students from these regions compared to the other forums in the school allowing for a more compact leadership team. 

The goal for the Forum this semester is to have meetings, lectures, and seminars focused on understanding issues affecting the Forum regions. These are centered around development and economy. Due to limitations of Covid, the Forum has not been active yet; however,  the Forum has planned activities in the pipeline aiming to connect with organisations and institutions working on Latin America and Caribbean issues. The Forum is also particularly interested in building  connections that look towards strengthening the relationship between the regions and South Korea. Moreover, the Forum wants to build on sharing culture and planting the seeds of connecting Latin American and Caribbean students together within the KDIS community and externally to their diplomatic representatives. 

The Forum is at a pivotal building and creating structure phase and warmly encourages those who are interested in the subject areas to participate in future activities. 

“I want to inculcate structure so as to ensure that the next representatives can build and expand on the foundation we have laid,” said Gabriella as she shared the Forum’s recently formed status. 

Indo-Pacific Forum Representative - Rahul Singh Bais (Fall, 2021) 

The Indo-Pacific Form was recently founded by Rahul Singh Bais, and its  goal is to bring to the mainstream and share academic perspectives on the Indo-Pacific. Indo-Pacific is a relatively new terminology popularised by Australia and Japan. Countries are now growing towards an interest in building Indo-Pacific frameworks. The countries below are defined as the “Indo-Pacific” region: Australia, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Brunei, Cambodia, Fiji, India, Indonesia, Japan, Laos, Malaysia, Maldives, Myanmar, Nepal, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea, Philippines Singapore, Sri Lanka, Taiwan, Thailand, Timor Leste, the United States, and Vietnam. 

 Despite this, the intention of the Forum is not necessarily to represent students from these countries, but instead to expand the knowledge and scholarship of the Indo-Pacific region focusing on international relations, state relations and diplomacy. The goal of the Forum is to invite academics and subject matter experts to share their expertise and therefore it is open to everyone regardless of country of origin. The Forum has recently  hosted Dr. Giulio Pugliese from Oxford University and Professor Ian Hall  from Griffith University. 

The Forum has a two team leadership considering its relatively new status and low touch nature of events, which are primarily online lectures.

Rahul believes that everyone can benefit from knowledge of the Indo-Pacific region and its implications: “After the online events, I will share the videos of the lectures on YouTube so  they can be accessible to everyone,” says Rahul. 

Central Asian Forum Representative - Bakyt Zholamanova (Spring, 2022)

The Central Asian Forum has an interesting genesis story, with Representative Bakyt founding the Forum remotely while still in Kazakhstan  this semester. Her passion and determination did not hamper her desire to create a space for Central Asian students from KDI School to connect. Currently, the forum has five members and represents Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, and Kazakhstan. 

While the Forum has intentions of growing the student relations for Central Asian students, the founder’s motivation came from her background feeling as though there was not enough information reaching people in her country, especially those from rural areas. 

Working with KDI School Alumni in Central Asia, her goal is to help connect people to opportunities for further study while also connecting with enrolled students.

She would also like to use the opportunity to share with people about Central Asia as a lot of people do not know about the region. 

Leading a forum remotely and connecting with other forums is difficult as creating connections is central to one of their strategies, however, Bakyt is excited to come to South Korea in the future and host celebratory cultural events for students to connect and interact. 

Bakyt emphasised the importance of forums for the entire student body on giving important information and  supporting one another, “I did a lot of research about forums in other universities and realised they are not just about talking but about building networks and there is potential for in-depth interactions and supporting one another.” 


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Lesego Barona Otlhabanye

2021 FALL / MDP / Botswana

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