Ask someone in Southeast Asia what comes to mind when you mention "Korea," and the answer is more than likely to be the "Korean Wave." (...) The first ladies of the ASEAN member nations got a look at the place where the wave originated during this week's Korea-ASEAN Summit.

Sohn Jie-Ae, dubbed one of the most powerful women in Asian media until her March exit from the network, spent an hour providing anecdote-filled, firsthand insight into Korea’s booming pop culture for a discussion titled “K-pop Mania: South Korea’s Place Under the Sun.” The event was organized by the USC Center on Public Diplomacy and co-sponsored by USC East Asian Studies Center and the Korean Studies Institute

CPD hosted Jie-Ae Sohn, former President of South Korea International Broadcasting, today for an event co-sponsored by USC East Asian Studies Center and the Korean Studies Institute

What could bring together the biggest names in the Korean pop industry? A visit by the Pope will do it.  As Pope Francis tours South Korea through August 18, some 20 Korean household names got together to record a video for a song titled "Koinonia," which means camaraderie and communion in Greek.

"The difference between cool Korea and earlier Asian pop culture waves is that Korea has been working to make this happen for almost two decades. Korea is cool because it decided to be cool — it's the first country in history that has made being cool a massive policy priority, backed by the Korean government to the tune of billions of dollars."

Very few American fans can see K-pop acts perform live. Some popular South Korean bands like Girls' Generation or 2NE1 have played showcases in major U.S. cities, and the girl group Crayon Pop just toured with Lady Gaga. Yet for most such acts, it's never made logistical or financial sense to play the States, despite a fervent fan subculture here. This year's KCON, the third installment of the annual K-pop festival in downtown L.A., might be changing that line of thinking.

Korean pop, which is radically increasing in global popularity, is setting the tone for the nation's mourning by going absolutely silent. Billboard reported this week that K-pop charts have come to a standstill, as music and TV programming have halted as well. This is unprecedented.

For the past three decades, Brazilian “telenovelas” have helped Cubans forget their litany of woes for an hour a day. But today, dozens of South Korean soap operas are earning wide audiences. Following in the footsteps of South Korean films and K-pop, “doramas” — South Korean soaps dubbed into Spanish — first appeared on Cuban televisions earlier this year.