September 29, 2022
Maryann Love with South Korean colleagues inside of a Church

Maryann Love, associate professor of International Relations, who is shown with South Korean colleagues, gave a keynote lecture on “Just Peace in Northeast Asia” in 2018 at the Catholic Institute for Northeast Asia Peace research center in South Korea. Photo courtesy of CINAP.

On October 5-6, Catholic University will host a visiting delegation of 40 Korean government officials, scholars, students and media, led by five South Korean Catholic bishops, for a conference to discuss building peace on the Korean Peninsula.

The delegation will meet with University students, faculty, U.S. bishops, and U.S. government officials and scholars to discuss the role that faith-based communities play in promoting peace and resolving conflicts. The Korean bishops will also share information on their 2015 visit to the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea. The conference is free but registration is required and closes Sept. 30. The conference will take place in Caldwell Hall Auditorium from 2-5 p.m. each day. On Oct. 6, the conference is closed to the public but will be available via livestream.

The five visiting Korean bishops are Bishop Lee Kiheon of Uijeongbu; Bishop Kim Juyoung of Chuncheon and Apostolic Administrator of Hamhung; Archbishop Chung Soontaick of Seoul and Apostolic Administrator of Pyongyang; Archbishop Kim Heejoong of Gwangju; and Abbot Park Hyundong, OSB, Apostolic Administration of Tokwon. All are members of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Korea’s Committee for the Reconciliation of the Korean People. They will be accompanied by South Korean media and Catholic researchers.

“At Catholic University we are blessed to sit at the intersection of Church and state in Washington, DC, and by hosting conferences such as this, we make our mission real and tangible,’ said Maryann Love, associate professor of International Relations and a member of the Core Group for the Department of State’s working group on Religion and Foreign Policy. “It's a great opportunity for students, faculty, researchers and the community to take our research and scholarship and make it real through connections with the global community.”

At a time when the North Korean military is launching ballistic missiles and threatening more tests with nuclear weapons, building such relationships is more important than ever. Referring to U.S. Vice President Kamala Harris’ recent visit to the Demilitarized Zone dividing the Korean Peninsula, Love said it is important for societal and religious organizations to help in the call for peace.

“Vice President Harris … called the U.S.-South Korea alliance a ‘linchpin’ of regional and global security,” said Love. “Such relationships are not just between government officials but also among peoples, among scholars and students and religious communities,” said Love.

The conference is the latest collaboration of a partnership that has existed since 2017 between the University and South Korean scholars, students and Church officials. Through this partnership, Catholic University students met Pope Francis and 11 Nobel Laureates at a Vatican symposium on the Church’s involvement in the United Nations nuclear weapon ban treaty.

This conference is jointly sponsored by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) Committee on International Justice and Peace (CIJP), together with the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Korea’s Committee for the Reconciliation of the Korean People (CRKP) and its Catholic Institute for Northeast Asia Peace (CINAP), and the Institute for Policy Research at Catholic University. The delegation has been substantially funded by the Korean government’s National Assembly.

On Oct. 6, two open admission documentary films will be screened in Caldwell Hall, each followed by a panel discussion. “Crossings,” the story of a group of international women peacemakers who crossed the demilitarized zone between North and South Korea to call for an end to the 70-year war, will be shown at 10 a.m. and “A Veteran’s Day Out,” which tells the experiences of a British soldier in the Korean War, will be shown at 7 p.m.