April 17th, 2012 – The Father, the Son, and the Sacred System: Making Sense of North Korea

Abstract: North Korea is an unusual country since it is thoroughly secluded from the rest of the world, its hard-working and disciplined population has been thoroughly indoctrinated to see all good coming from the Kim family and all things bad from the US and its allies. A policy of “military first” makes it easier for the regime to effectively control its population. Revolution is unthinkable as long as the regime can pay off its overlapping security and repression apparatuses. On the other hand the government promised to “usher in the era of a great powerful and (moderately) affluent state” by 2012 – Kim Il Sung’s 100th birthday. It will have to appear to be delivering on its promise. Will the new leader be material in this transition? Will he be a figurehead? Who will be the “power behind the curtain”? Will it be his uncle and mentor? Finally: Can the North Korean regime be reformed? If not, will it go down with a bang or with a whimper?

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DATE: April 17, 2012 at 4:00 PM
LOCATION: McIntyre Room, Buchanan Alumni Hall, University of Maine
SPEAKERFriedrich Löhr is the Consul General of the Federal Republic of Germany in Boston

RECEPTION: C.G. Löhr will give a mini-talk titled, Germany and the Euro Crisis: Leadership in Difficult Times, at 2:00P.M. in the Bodwell Lounge, Collins Center for the Performing Arts.

About the Speaker: Friedrich Löhr is the Consul General of the Federal Republic of Germany in Boston. From 2005 to 2007 CG Löhr served as Germany’s Ambassador to North Korea. This posting came immediately after his posting as Minister and DCM in the German Embassy in Beijing, China. Prior to that, Löhr spent four years in the Foreign Office in Berlin in the Department of Disarmament, Arms Control and Non-proliferation, Head of Section for Biological and Chemical Disarmament. All of this qualifies Löhr as a highly informed, close-up observer of the government, politics, goals, and desires of North Korea. In addition, Consul Löhr studied law, French and international relations at the Universities of Heidelberg, Montpelier, and Oxford. He was also a Fellow in the Weatherhead Center for International Affairs, Harvard University, Cambridge, and a Rhodes Scholar at Oxford.

These events are free and open to the public thanks to support from The Bangor Foreign Policy Forum and the following University of Maine departments and organizations: the College of Liberal Arts & Sciences, the Department of Modern Languages and Classics, the Office of International Programs, and Phi Beta Kappa.