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This episode is part one of a special summer miniseries on the 13th World Festival of Youth and Students. You can listen to part two here.
The 13th World Festival of Youth and Students was held in the North Korean capital almost thirty years ago next month. A global gathering of international Communist Party-affiliated youth organizations, it represented something of a last hurrah for a world that was soon to disappear in a storm of revolution and unrest.
Hosted by North Korea — in large part as a response to the South’s successful hosting of the 1988 Summer Olympic Games — the festival cost the country billions and saw thousands of international students descend on Pyongyang for an event devoted to “Anti-Imperialist Solidarity, Peace and Friendship.”
In the inaugural episode of a special summer miniseries on the landmark event, we talk to Dr. Andrei Lankov about its geopolitical background, its impact in South Korea, and how the festival represented a peculiar period of opening up for the modern-day Hermit Kingdom.
Andrei Lankov is a Director at NK News and writes exclusively for the site as one of the world’s leading authorities on North Korea. In addition to his writing, he is also a Professor at Kookmin University.
About the podcast: The “North Korea News Podcast” is a weekly podcast hosted exclusively by NK News, covering all things DPRK: from news to extended interview with leading experts and analysts in the field and insight from our very own journalists.
Featured image: May 2019 edition of “DPR Korea” magazine