CSIS Office of the Korea Chair and the USC Korean Studies Institute announce eleven NextGen Scholars awards for 2015-16. These scholars were selected in a national competition. The awardees all displayed exemplary scholarship in wide-ranging disciplines, from political science, communication, Korean history, international relations, and education, to networking and security.

This program allowed for deeper and more vigorous dialogue and research not only on topics of immediate concern to the bilateral relationship, but also the range of issues that affect the U.S. and Korea. It also identified, nurtured, and built a community of American public intellectuals across a wide range of sectors and facilitate spin-offs of policy-oriented research teams and projects.

Ten NextGen Scholars were selected by the senior advisors in October 2015 to participate in the U.S.–Korea NextGen Scholars Program. The biographies and work of the first cohort of NextGen scholars can be found here.

You can also see what our 2015-2016 NextGen scholars are up to on our NextGen Facebook page.

This program is made possible in part by generous support from The Korea Foundation.

NextGen Scholars

Bridget L. Coggins

Bridget L. Coggins is an Associate Professor of Political Science at the University of California, Santa Barbara. Her research interests lie at the intersection of domestic conflict and international relations, including studies of secessionism, rebel diplomacy, civil war and terrorism, maritime piracy, and illicit trafficking. Coggins's first book is Power Politics and State Formation in the 20th Century: The Dynamics of Recognition (Cambridge 2014). Her second major project examines the international security consequences of state failure. Coggins's scholarly work appears in Foreign Policy Magazine, International Organization, Journal of Conflict Resolution, Journal of Peace Research, and at various university presses. She was previously an Asan-CFR Fellow at the Asan Institute for Policy Studies.

Dr. Coggins received her B.A. from the University of Minnesota and her Ph.D. from Ohio State University.

Leif-Eric Easley

Leif-Eric Easley is an Associate Professor in the Division of International Studies at Ewha Womans University, and a Research Fellow at the Asan Institute for Policy Studies. Dr. Easley’s research interests include contested national identities and changing levels of trust in the bilateral security relationships of Northeast Asia. He has also been a Northeast Asian History Fellow at the Shorenstein Asia-Pacific Research Center (APARC) at Stanford University, and a visiting scholar at Yonsei University, the University of Southern California’s Korean Studies Institute, and the Japan Institute for International Affairs in Tokyo. Dr. Easley is actively involved in U.S.-Asia dialogue (Track II diplomacy) with the Asan Institute and the Pacific Forum – CSIS.

Dr. Easley received his B.A. in Political Science from the University of California, Los Angeles, and his M.A. and Ph.D. in Government from Harvard University.

Op-ed “Moon assembles dream team, but North Korea unwilling to play”
East Asia Forum, July 30, 2017

Robert Kelly

Robert Kelly is an Associate Professor in the Department of Political Science and Diplomacy at Pusan National University. Dr. Kelly’s research interests include international relations theory in East Asia, U.S. foreign policy in Asia and the Middle East, Korean Foreign Policy, and international financial institutions. Dr. Kelly has written for Newsweek in Korea and Japan, Foreign Affairs, The National Interest, and The Diplomat, and he contributes to the Lowy Institute for International Policy and the Economist Intelligence Unit – Asia Group. He is also an avid blogger who runs the Asian Security Blog.

Dr. Kelly received his B.A. in History and Political Science from the Miami University of Ohio, and his Ph.D. in International Relations from Ohio State University.


"North Korea as a 'mafia state'" 
The Lowy Institute for International Policy's The Interpreter, March 16, 2016

NextGen Scholar and Pusan National University professor Dr. Robert Kelly drew a parallel between North Korea’s hegemonic Kim regime and a mafia organization by drawing 5 strikingly similar attributes they share. These are: 1) North Korea is run by an extended clan, and position within the regime is heavily influenced by blood and friendship ties rather than merit or ideology; 2) order among elites is maintained through the stick of harsh, irregular violence and the carrot of bribery; 3) contracts are routinely ignored in the relentless pursuit of short-term material gain; 4) it engages in elaborate criminal enterprises; and 5) it is deeply corrupt.

Jaeeun Kim

Jaeeun Kim is Assistant Professor of Sociology, and the Korea Foundation Assistant Professor of Korean Studies at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. Dr. Kim specializes in political sociology, ethnicity and nationalism, and international migration and globalization in East Asia and beyond, and is trained in comparative-historical and ethnographic methods. Her first book, entitled Contested Embrace: Transborder Membership Politics in Twentieth-Century Korea is based on her award-winning dissertation (2013 Theda Skocpol Dissertation Award). She was a postdoctoral fellow at Princeton and Stanford University and has taught at George Mason University for a year.

Dr. Kim received her Ph.D. in Sociology from the University of California, Los Angeles. She also received M.A.s in Sociology from the University of California, Los Angeles and Seoul National University, and B.A. in Law from Seoul National University.

Aaron Miller

Aaron Miller is Assistant Director of the Asia Institute at the University of California, Los Angeles. He previously was Program Director of the Center for Korean Studies at University of California, Berkeley from 2007 to 2011. He was also legislative aide and communications and policy director for Councilmember Stanley Chang of Honolulu’s campaign for U.S. Congress in 2014, and an international programs coordinator at the College of Social Sciences of the University of Hawai’i at Mānoa from 2013 to 2014.

Mr. Miller received a B.A. in History and a M.A. in Regional Studies: East Asia from Harvard University, and an M.A. in Korean for Professionals from the University of Hawai’i at Mānoa.

Lauren Richardson

Lauren Richardson is Director of Studies and Lecturer at the Asia-Pacific College of Diplomacy at the Coral Bell School of Asia Pacific Affairs of the Australian National University. Her research is concerned with the social and diplomatic repercussions of war and colonialism in contemporary East Asia, with a particular focus on the Japan–South Korea relationship. She is currently completing her Ph.D. in International Relations and Political Science from the Australian National University, where her dissertation “Reshaping Japan–Korea Relations: Transnational Advocacy Networks and the Politics of Redress” will be submitted in December 2015. She was a visiting fellow at the Japan Institute of International Affairs and Keio University, and an adjunct lecturer at ANU.

Ms. Richardson received her B.A. and M.A. in Asian Studies from Monash University, and a Masters of Laws from Keio University, and is currently completing her Ph.D. studies at ANU.


"History Repeating Itself: Why Tokyo and Seoul's Comfort Women Deal Won't Solve the Problem"
The Lowy Institute for International Policy's The Interpreter, April 1, 2016

NextGen Scholar and Teaching Fellow at the University of Edinburgh Lauren Richardson examined the issue of “comfort women” through the history of ROK-Japan interactions on the issue, with the Korean Council playing a critical role. She points out that what the victims and the Korean Council wanted was “state compensation” from Japan. However, Japan has sought alternatives to avoid a legal precedent that could allow requests for state compensation by the other victims during its colonial and wartime period.

Amelia Schubert

Amelia Schubert is a Ph.D. candidate in Human Geography at the Department of Geography of the University of Colorado at Boulder. Her research focus is on migration issues on the Korean Peninsula and in China, and in gender and development in Northeast Asia. Her dissertation “Impacts of Female-Out-Migration on Ethnic Korean Communities in China” examines migration flows between China and the two Koreas, specifically the migration patterns of ethnic Korean Chinese. Ms. Schubert has been a Fulbright English Teaching Assistant in South Korea and the recipient of a Fulbright Research Fellowship to conduct research at Yanbian University, China.

Ms. Schubert received her B.A. in East Asian History from Arizona State University, a M.A. in Geography from the University of Colorado at Boulder, and is in her final year of Ph.D. studies at the University of Colorado at Boulder.

Matthew Shapiro

Matthew Shapiro is an Associate Professor of Political Science at the Illinois Institute of Technology, an East Asia Institute Fellow, and a Research Affiliate at the Joint Center for Energy Storage Research at Argonne National Laboratory. Dr. Shapiro’s research interests includes national innovation systems with special focus on Northeast Asia, environmental and energy policies, and politics of science and technology. His work has been published in The Pacific Review, American Politics Research, International Journal of Public Policy and others. He was also an East Asia Institute Research Fellow and an Asiatic Research Institute Fellow at Korea University.

Dr. Shapiro received his B.A. in Political Science from the University of California at San Diego, an M.A. in Korean Studies from Yonsei University, and an M.A. in Economics and a Ph.D. in Political Economy & Public Policy from the University of Southern California.

"Dust in the wind, solutions in the lab"
The Korea Herald, April 18, 2016

NextGen Scholar and Illinois Institute of Technology professor Dr. Matthew Shapiro explains the yellow dust problem that East Asia has suffered from and points out that there has been growing cooperation among China, Korea, and Japan to deal with the problem. Although there are some factors that can hinder joint efforts such as the free-rider problem, “the presence of a regional science network confirms that the governments of China, South Korea and Japan have been promoting transnational research without relying on formal diplomatic channels. Public funding for research and collaborations among countries continues to increase."

Elizabeth Shim

Elizabeth Shim is a reporter at United Press International in Washington, DC, where she writes 25 weekly news stories on North/South Korea, the U.S.–Asia relations, China, and Southeast Asia. Her research interests includes South Korea’s evolving relationships with China, information and media flows into North Korea, and the fluctuating national identities of North Korean defectors. Ms. Shim was previously a copy editor for the Star Tribune in Minneapolis, a reporter for The Associated Press in Seoul, a production controller at Oxford University Press USA in New York, and an editor and public relations manager for Seoul Selection in both New York and Seoul.

Ms. Shim received a B.A. in Economics and Philosophy from Wellesley College and an M.A. joint degree in Global Journalism and East Asian Studies from New York University.

"Ordinary North Koreans are the true audience for Pyongyang's nuclear weapons tests"
South China Morning Post, April 6, 2016

NextGen Scholar and United Press International reporter Elizabeth Shim explains there already exists in North Korea an irreversible trend of watching ROK media including dramas and films, and doing transactions through grey markets. As a reaction to this, the North Korean regime tries “to produce simulated images that can compete with illegal media, to remind the population of the nation’s anti-imperial legacy and liberationist ideology, and to deliver the message with a show of force that has some grounding in reality.”

Sixiang Wang

Sixiang Wang is the 2016-2018 Andrew W. Mellon Postdoctoral Fellow and Lecturer at Stanford University Department of East Asian Languages and Cultures. He was previously a Postdoctoral Researcher at the James Joo-Jin Kim Program in Korean Studies at the University of Pennsylvania from 2015 to 2016. Dr. Wang is a historian of pre-nineteenth Korean history; his research interests includes the global history of empire and the history of knowledge production in early modern East Asia. He recently completed his dissertation, titled “Co-Constructing Empire in Early Chosŏn Korea: Knowledge Production and the Culture of Diplomacy, 1392-1592” that investigated Korean relations with Ming China (1368-1644) during the Chosŏn period (1392-1910).

Dr. Wang received a B.A., an M.A., and a Ph.D. in East Asian Languages and Cultures from Columbia University.

Senior Advisors

Victor Cha

Victor Cha joined CSIS in May 2009 as a senior adviser and the inaugural holder of the Korea Chair. He is also director of Asian studies and holds the D.S. Song-KF Chair in the Department of Government and School of Foreign Service at Georgetown University. From 2004 to 2007, he served as director for Asian affairs at the White House on the National Security Council (NSC), where he was responsible primarily for Japan, the Korean peninsula, Australia/New Zealand, and Pacific Island nation affairs.  Read more

David Kang

David Kang is Professor of International Relations and Business at the University of Southern California, with appointments in both the School of International Relations and the Marshall School of Business. He is also Director of USC Korean Studies Institute and Director of the USC Center for International Studies. Previously he was a professor at Dartmouth College’s Government Department and Tuck School of Business (1996-2009).Read More

Board of Senior Advisors

Ambassador Thomas Hubbard

Ambassador Thomas Hubbard is Senior Director of Asia Practice at McLarty Associates. A career Foreign Service Officer for nearly forty years, he served as U.S. Ambassador to the Republic of Korea from 2001 to 2004, and before that as Ambassador to the Philippines from 1996-2000. Earlier in his career he served seven years in Japan, and was also Deputy Chief of Mission and acting Ambassador in Malaysia. Ambassador Hubbard held key Washington postings including Philippines desk officer, country director for Japan, and principal Deputy Assistant Secretary for East Asian and Pacific affairs. Ambassador Hubbard was a principal negotiator of the 1994 Agreed Framework aimed at ending North Korea's nuclear weapons program, and headed the first senior level U.S. government delegation to North Korea. He was also President Clinton's envoy to promote human rights and democracy in Burma. He received his B.A. in political science from the University of Alabama and has been awarded honorary doctorates by the University of Maryland and the University of Alabama. Read more

Stephan Haggard

Stephan Haggard is the Lawrence and Sallye Krause Professor of Korea-Pacific Studies, Director of the Korea-Pacific Program, and Distinguished Professor of Political Science in the School of Global Policy and Strategy at the University of California, San Diego.

Dr. Haggard has written extensively on the political economy of North Korea with Marcus Noland.Read More

Katharine H.S. Moon

Katharine H.S. Moon is Professor of Political Science and Wasserman Chair of Asian Studies at Wellesley College. She is also the SK-Korea Foundation Chair in Korea Studies and Senior Fellow in the Center for East Asia Policy Studies at The Brookings Institution. Read More


Scott Snyder

Scott Snyder is Senior Fellow for Korea Studies and Director of the Program on U.S.-Korea Policy at the Council on Foreign Relations. Prior to joining CFR, Snyder was a senior associate in the international relations program of The Asia Foundation, where he founded and directed the Center for U.S.-Korea Policy and served as The Asia Foundation's representative in Korea (2000-2004). Read More


Ambassador Kathleen Stephens

Ambassador Kathleen Stephens is the William J. Perry Distinguished Fellow at the Stanford University’s Walter H. Shorenstein Asia-Pacific Research Center. She rejoined Stanford in September 2015 after serving seven months as Charge d'Affaires at the U.S. Embassy in New Dehli (June 2014 – December 2014). Prior to that she was a 2013-14 Koret Fellow in Korean Studies at the Walter H. Shorenstein Asia-Pacific Research Center at Stanford University. Read More


Philip Yun

Philip Yun is Executive Director and COO of Ploughshares Fund, where he oversees the organization’s entire range of day-to-day activities, including grantmaking, communications, financial management and fundraising.

Prior to joining Ploughshares Fund, he was a vice president at The Asia Foundation (2005-2011), a Pantech Scholar in Korean Studies at Stanford University (2004-2005) and worked at the U.S. Department of State (1994-2001). Read More

Scholars in Los Angeles


The Los Angeles program was held from March 9 to 11 at the University of Southern California’s Korean Studies Institute. The program focused on training scholars to become public intellectuals. Evan Ramstad (CSIS distinguished senior associate and former Wall Street Journal reporter) led a discussion on op-ed publishing. The scholars received feedback on their op-eds, practiced news interviews in the USC Annenberg studios, met with members of the Korean media, had dinner with the ROK Consul General in Los Angeles, and filmed their op-eds. In addition to Dr. David Kang and Dr. Victor Cha, West Coast senior advisors included Ambassador Kathleen Stephens (Stanford University), Dr. Stephan Haggard (University of California, San Diego), and Mr. Philip Yun (Ploughshares Fund).

NextGen Los Angeles Program PDF


Scholars in Washington


The first part of the U.S. - Korea NextGen Scholars Program, hosted by CSIS Korea Chair and the University of California Korean Studies Institute took place from December 6-8, 2015 in Washington, D.C.

The ten NextGen Scholars, who were selected nationwide and internationally in October 2015 to participate in this program, met with policymakers, academics, and journalists during their trip to Washington. They visited the National Security Council and the U.S. Department of State, and listened to experts, current and former government officials speak about the U.S.-Korea relationship from the perspectives of the intelligence community, Congress, and the U.S. Department of Defense, and participated in a crisis simulation exercise at CSIS headquarters.

The U.S.-Korea NextGen Scholars Program is a two-year program providing opportunities for mid-career Korea specialists to discuss issues of importance to U.S.-Korea relations with policymakers, government officials and opinion leaders in Korea and the United States, learn how to effectively engage with the media, participate in the policymaking debate, and gain experience as public intellectuals helping to bridge the scholarly and policy communities and address issues of importance to the U.S.-Korea relationship. Dr. Victor Cha and Dr. David Kang of USC serve as senior advisors to this important program, along with a group of senior scholars in the U.S.

NextGen Washington Program PDF


Scholars in Seoul

The U.S.-Korea NextGen Scholars Program: Seoul Program

The third part of the U.S. - Korea NextGen Scholars Program took place from July 24 to 30, 2016 in Seoul.

The ten NextGen Scholars met with policymakers, academics, and journalists during their trip to Seoul. They visited government organizations such as the Ministry of Unification, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ministry of National Defense, National Intelligence Service, the U.S. Embassy Seoul and USFK. They also listened to experts, current and former government officials speak about the U.S.-Korea relationship from the perspectives of different policy sectors. The NextGen Scholars also had meetings with Korean cultural experts, and domestic and international journalists to discuss Korea’s media environment.