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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.”
The International Union of Students, headquartered in communist Czechoslovakia, was a primary organizing body of the 1989 World Festival of Youth and Students in Pyongyang, and as such a closer look at its role can provide us with a unique interpretation of the event from an institutional perspective.
For the first time, Dr. Vladimir Hlasny has accessed and synthesized Cold War-era archives dating back to the 1950s to better understand the union, its approach to the festival, how it saw Pyongyang’s execution of the event, and its place in the communist world.
Dr. Vladimir Hlasny of economics at Ewha Women’s University in Seoul. His research is normally in the areas of welfare economics, labor economics, and industrial organization. In 2015 he served as an economic affairs officer at the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia in Beirut.
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: DPRK Today