3.0: The Next Generation of the U.S.-ROK Alliance

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In February 2023, we selected 12 young leaders to be part of this inaugural cohort of the 3.0: The Next Generation of the U.S.-ROK Alliance program.

The 3.0: The Next Generation of the U.S.-ROK Alliance is a new initiative by the CSIS Korea Chair with support from the U.S. Embassy Seoul and State Department to identify and cultivate the next generation of experts, supporters, and leaders of the U.S.-ROK alliance.

The alliance’s “1.0” generation of supporters were the so-called “Korean war” generation. The 2006 U.S.-ROK free trade agreement opened the alliance’s “2.0” era of business, trade, and investment supporters of the alliance. This built upon the traditional military-security constituency. History has taught us that alliance institutions are held together not just by people on both sides of the Pacific who act on common interests, opportunities, or threats, but by those people who internalize the alliance’s value as a normative good. While this latter observation might characterize many in the alliance 1.0 and 2.0 generations, there is less clarity about who constitutes the “3.0” generation of future alliance supporters. The 3.0 generation is the group of people working on the new horizons of the alliance, including technology, climate, culture, health and trade. 

Building on the platform of the 2022 Biden-Yoon summit, this new program identifies and cultivates the next generation of alliance constituents in not only traditional areas, but also the new areas of future cooperation defined by the two presidents that truly make this a global alliance. This includes areas in security, trade, technology, climate, culture, and health sectors.

As strong as the U.S.-ROK alliance is today however, there is no identifiable mechanism for cultivating the next generation of Korean supporters of the U.S.-ROK alliance. Moreover, there is no core formative experience akin to that of the older “Korean war” generation that animates the orientation of the younger generation of Koreans. The Biden-Yoon summit’s deliverables underscore the challenge for both deepening and expanding the future generation of alliance managers in Korea and in the United States. This project addresses the challenge by identifying these next generation leaders who work in varied fields related to U.S.-ROK cooperation, and acclimating them to the history, benefits, and future potential of the most important alliance in Korea’s history.

The 3.0 Next Generation young scholars will be mentored by Dr. Victor Cha of CSIS and Georgetown University. He will be further supported by an advisory council of distinguished American and Korean advisers with vast experience in government, academia and business. A core objective of the program is to invest in the best and brightest of Korean advanced graduate students to help form the future community of alliance supporters and managers for the U.S.-ROK alliance.

Objectives of the Program:

  • Invest in the best and brightest of Korean advanced graduate students studying in the United States to help form the future community of alliance supporters and managers for the U.S. - ROK alliance.
  • Acclimatize these future leaders - in diverse fields ranging from- cyber to global health to supply chains.
  • Give these young leaders a voice and platform for the future shaping and managing of an alliance so critical to the American and Korean people.

Goals of the Program:

  • Identify the next generation leaders in trade, technology, climate, culture, and health sectors.
  • Form a network of young professionals dedicated to the alliance who will be able to rely on each other.
  • Train these students to use their own voice to be future opinion leaders regarding the alliance in their respective sectors.
  • Create a community of future alliance managers in support of the goals of the alliance across traditional and new areas of cooperation.
  • Introduce them to networks of alliance managers in the U.S. and to U.S. media.
  • Mentor them for academic and career success.

Program Details:

  • Bi-monthly virtual sessions with renowned speakers.
  • Op-ed in a U.S. or Korean media-outlet.
  • Washington, D.C. program (Summer 2023) - A 3-day in-person program where young scholars will meet and engage policymakers in policy discussions, learn how to frame a policy problem, and think about policy recommendations.


  • Students currently enrolled in a M.A. or Ph.D. program in a U.S. university.
  • Preferably researching areas related to climate change, infectious disease/public health, emerging technology, business and trade, and human rights / rule of law / the rules-based international order.

How to Apply:

  • Completed application, which includes:
    • Cover letter of interest
    • One letter of reference
    • Resume
    • One-page outline/abstract of a research identifying an issue or problem in the U.S.-ROK alliance related to your area of study and how you would seek bilateral cooperation to solve it.
Photo: CSIS

This program was funded in part by a grant from the United States Department of State. The opinions, findings and conclusions stated herein are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of the United States Department of State.

This program is also made possible through generous support from AMCHAM Korea and other general support to CSIS.