Dean David Weil delivers keynote at international labor forum and meets mayor of Seoul

December 20, 2018

Dean Weil meeting with Mayor of Seoul
Dean Weil meets with Seoul Mayor Won-soon Park. Photo from

On Dec. 11, Dean David Weil delivered the keynote address at the Second International Forum on Transforming Cities for Decent Work, hosted by the Seoul Metropolitan Government in Seoul, South Korea. His speech, “Addressing Inequality and the Fissured Workplace through the Union City,” discussed how changes in the employment relationship (“the fissured workplace”) influences wages and contributes to earnings inequality, as well as how local governments at the city and state level can use policies to mitigate these problems. (Read Korean press coverage of the forum.)

“I was honored to be invited to address an international audience of leaders from 20 different international cities, academics, and Korean government, business, and labor leaders on how an understanding of the changing nature of work can inform public policies,” says Dean Weil.

Dean Weil delivering keynote address in Seoul
Dean Weil delivered the keynote address at the Second International Forum on Transforming Cities for Decent Work
Dean Weil on stage at keynote event in Seoul
Dean Weil and alumni in Seoul at a restaurant
Dean Weil and his wife Miriam enjoyed dinner with Brandeis and Heller alumni, hosted by Dr. Seung-il Shin ’64, PhD’68.
Dean Weil meeting with alumni in Seoul
Dean Weil and Miriam in front of a historic building in Korea

Dean Weil met with Seoul Mayor Won-soon Park and praised the mayor’s “Union City” initiative, an approach that aims to improve the working environment for the nearly 10 million people who live in the South Korean capital. They discussed U.S. policies enacted during Weil’s tenure as the administrator of the Wage and Hour Division of the U.S. Department of Labor, and how those policies might work in Seoul. (Read Korean press coverage of their meeting.)

“In the course of my discussion with Mayor Park,” he says, “I quoted Louis Brandeis’ notion that states, and similarly cities, can be the ‘laboratories of democracy’ in experimenting with new policies that, if successful, can be scaled to a national level. He liked that quote and concept and felt it captured the relation of Seoul’s innovative efforts and how they might inform Korean national policy.”

During his week in South Korea, Dean Weil and his wife Miriam also enjoyed dinner with Brandeis alumni, hosted by Dr. Seung-il Shin’64, PhD’68, who originally attended Brandeis as a Wien Scholar. Heller alumni Eun Jung Huh, MA SID’06 and Heon-yoon Lee, SID’09, as well as Brandeis alumni Jay Myung, PhD’95, and Sam Lee’11, also joined in the dinner and spirited discussion on a wide range of issues. Undaunted by the 17 degree weather (“hey, I live in Boston”), Dean Weil and Miriam also explored several historical palaces and museums in Seoul’s central city.