Politics Course with Hon Michael Kirby: Securing Peace with Human Rights in North Korea (Sydney)

Politics Course with Hon Michael Kirby: Securing Peace with Human Rights in North Korea

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As we move towards the 2018 Winter Olympics in PyeongChang, South Korea, North and South have announced that they will march together at the opening ceremony and create a combined team. Beyond the 2018 Winter Olympics how do we secure peace in Korea whilst improving human rights in North Korea? This politics course with the Honourable Michael Kirby, AC CMG, Chair of the UN Commission of Inquiry on Human Rights Violations in North Korea, (2013-14) will address all of the important aspects of this challenging contemporary issue.

Learning Aims

The aim of this politics course by the Honourable Michael Kirby’s is to empower participants to:

  1. Be inspired and encouraged to learn more about North Korea.
  2. Have a greater understanding of North Korea and human rights in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea and the issue of securing peace.
  3. Stimulate debate and encourage active and informed discussions with regard to North Korea: "crimes against its own people"; and their stance on security of the region and nuclear weapons.
  4. Be informed of the findings in the Report of the commission of inquiry on human rights in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.

Course Content

The Honourable Michael Kirby AC CMG chaired a Commission of Inquiry on human rights in North Korea for the United Nations Human Rights Council. The inquiry found many grave crimes against humanity.

In this politics course, he will address the quandary of how we can tackle the crimes against its own people whilst responding effectively to the issues of peace and security of the region arising from the development of nuclear weapons.

Intended Audience

This politics course is suitable for anyone who is interested in Korea, North Korea and the issue of human rights.

Delivery Style

This politics course will be delivered as a lecture followed by general discussion. Questions and discussion will be encouraged from fellow learners in the room and those on video link. The course will be offered via video link to those in international or regional locations. Registered participants may connect to the video link using Cisco Meeting, Cisco Jabber, Google Chrome, Zoom or Skype for Business and a reliable Internet connection is required. Video connection details will be made available to each participant prior to this course.

Recommended Reading

  1. United Nations Human Council, Report of the Commission of Inquiry on human rights in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, (2014), A/HRC/25/63, especially pp. 15-21.
  2. Dean and Professor of Political Sciences, Griffith University, Andrew O’Neil, Why a first strike option on North Korea is a very bad idea, The Conversation, 1/2/18.
  3. Emeritus Professor of Cultural Research, Institute for Culture and Society, Western Sydney University, David Rowe and Lecturer in Sport and Leisure Policy, University of Edinburgh, Jung Woo Lee, The Winter Olympics and the two Koreas: how sport diplomacy could save the world, The Conversation, 11/1/18.
  4. Michael D. Kirby, UN Commission of Inquiry on human rights violations in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea: ten lessons, Melbourne Journal of International Law, v.15, no.2, 2014 Dec, p.1(27).
  5. North Korea Search, The Conversation, 17/12/17.
  6. Cameron Forbes, The Korean War – Australia in the Giants' Playground, Sydney, Macmillan Australia, 2010.
  7. Michael Pembroke, Korea: Where the American Century Began, Hardie Grant Books,2018 ISBN: 9781743793930.

Course Prerequisites

This politics course has no prerequisites and is open to all members of the public.

Margaret McDonough-Glenn has a B.A. (Hons) from University of Adelaide, South Australia, Australia and a Certificate IV in Training and Assessment from Hawkesbury Community College, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia. She has taught at university, community college and TAFE in Australia. In the pursuit of her doctoral dissertation she researched in many famous institutions such as Bodleian Library, Oxford, Cambridge, London, London School of Economics, Institute of Historical Research, Institute of Commonwealth Studies and Keele universities, United Kingdom, Harvard, Texas, Stanford, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Columbia, Chicago and UCLA, universities, United States of America, University of Waterloo, Canada, Australian research institutions and universities in Melbourne, Adelaide, Hobart, Perth, Sydney and Brisbane. She also gave numerous international research papers for example at: Melbourne, Sydney, Canberra, Hobart, International Standing Conference for the History of Education, Sydney, Australia and International Congress of Historical Sciences, Oslo, Norway. She has interviewed the professors of Australian historiography venturing beyond Australia to access their papers. In 2017 she attended and presented a paper at an international education conference about education for older persons.

Over the last eight years Margaret has been teaching lifelong learning; the many topics she has covered include civic education, women’s human rights: ideas, issues and history, indigenous issues and human rights, same sex marriage and human rights and in particular third phase education. Recent courses that she has taught include: Social Justice Course: Issues for Australians, Can Women Have It All: Family, Career and Power, Book Club, Hot Topics for 2016 Federal Election and State of Education in Australia. With regard to the last course for the first time a vice chancellor addressed the class, Professor Caroline McMillen of the University of Newcastle.

In 2012 she adopted Skype video that opened the world to her Sydney classes, originally Skyping beyond the borders of New South Wales to South Australia and Victoria. Since then she has gone on to Skype the world securing guest speakers from Russia, United States of America and United Kingdom, to Harvard University, MIT, London University, University of Kentucky, University of Toronto.

In 2017 Margaret began teaching at UON, Sydney campus. In the last semester 2017, Margaret’s courses ventured into the new pioneering field of transnational education and university to university video conferencing. Working with Professor Andrew White of University of Nottingham, Ningbo, China, UNNC, we pioneered university to university video conferencing transnational education, ‘Ideas from Australia and China’ course between University of Newcastle, Sydney campus and University of Nottingham, Ningbo, China.

In first semester 2018 University of Newcastle, Sydney campus course, Issues and Insights for South Africa was offered to Sydney students and for the first time via video link to those in international or regional locations.

Margaret strives to advance further the new pioneering field of transnational education and video conferencing; Margaret passionately believes that all students should have access to the latest topics, leading academics, professors, intellectuals, public figures, politicians, ideas and resources regardless of their background or location.

Michael Kirby is an international jurist, educator and former judge. He served as a Deputy President of the Australian Conciliation and Arbitration Commission (1975-83); Chairman of the Australian Law Reform Commission (1975-84); Judge of the Federal Court of Australia (1983-4); President of the New South Wales Court of Appeal (1984-96); President of the Court of Appeal of Solomon Islands (1995-96) and Justice of the High Court of Australia (1996-2009).

He has undertaken many international activities for the United Nations, the Commonwealth Secretariat, the OECD and the Global Fund Against AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria. He has also worked in civil society, being elected President of the International Commission of Jurists (1995-8). His recent international activities have included member of the Eminent Persons Group on the Future of the Commonwealth of Nations (2010-11); Commissioner of the UNDP Global Commission on HIV and the Law (2011-12); Chairman of the UN Commission of Inquiry on DPRK (North Korea) (2013-14); and Member of the UN Secretary-General’s High Level Panel on Access to Essential Healthcare (2015-16). He is also heavily engaged in international arbitrations; domestic mediations; and teaching law. He is Honorary Professor at 12 Australian and overseas universities.

In 1990 he was awarded the Australian Human Rights Medal. In 1998, he was named Laurette of the UNESCO Prize for Human Rights Education. In 2010 he was named co-winner of the Gruber Justice Prize. In 2011 he received the inaugural Australian Privacy Medal. The honorary degrees of Doctor of Letters, Doctor of Laws and Doctor of the University have been conferred on him by universities in Australia and overseas. He lives in Sydney with his partner since 1969, Johan van Vloten.


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