Current Visiting Scholars

Visiting Scholars

Nanhee Ku

December 30, 2019 – December 29, 2020

Nanhee Ku is a Professor of the Dept. of Humanities at the Academy of Korean Studies and joined George Washington University as a visiting scholar. Her main research areas are ancient Korean history (Palhae/Bohai) and history education. She has published extensively in the areas of Palhae history and history education in Korea, including The Exchange of Palhae and Japan (designated as an excellent academic book by The National Academy of Sciences @Republic of Korea), Annals of the Palhae Dynasty, Encyclopedia of Palhae Historical Remains, History Education between Korea and Japan (tokyo:meisei), and A New History of Parhae (London:Global Oriental). Her current research interest lies in the comparative study of the Northern-East Asian History with the focus on the ancient exchanges.


Sangjin Lee

March 24, 2020 – November 24, 2020

Dr. Lee is a professor at Korea National Defense University. He received his Ph. D in Business Administration at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. After joining KNDU, he has served as a member of many ROK government committees such as Defense Program Steering Board, Defense Reform, Military Logistics Revolution, and Navy Consulting. He is interested in research on logistics, program management, defense reform, and defense industry base.



Seonghwi Kim

August 17, 2020 – August 15, 2021

Seonghwi Kim is a staff writer at the Moneytoday newspaper. Since joining the Moneytoday media group in 2006 he has covered numerous areas especially the politics part. The Blue House (South Korean Presidential Office), the National Assembly were his principal domains. He was the Blue House correspondent from 2017 to July 2020. ( He was a fellow of the European Journalism Center in 2012. He focuses on the U.S.-South Korean alliance and the two Presidents’ foreign policies.



Non-Resident Scholars

John Merrill

June 1, 2018 – June 30, 2021

Dr. John Merrill is the former chief of the Northeast Asia Division in the State Department’s Bureau of Intelligence and Research. Merrill has taught at the Foreign Service Institute, Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies, Georgetown University, the George Washington University, and Lafayette College. For many years, he chaired seminars on North Korean Foreign Policy for mid-career Intelligence Community analysts/managers. Merrill is the author of Korea: The Peninsular Origins of the War and The Cheju-do Rebellion (in Japanese). His most recent pieces include “Inside the White House: The Future of US-DPRK Policy,” Korea Observer, Winter 2016 and op-eds for Nikkei Asian Review. Merrill has a Ph.D. from the University of Delaware, an M.A. from Harvard University, and a B.A. from Boston University.


Stephen Costello

March 18, 2019 – March 18, 2021

Mr. Stephen Costello has been immersed in South Korean politics and foreign policy since 1990. He is Director of the policy NGO AsiaEast.Org and columnist with The Korea Times in Seoul. He holds a bachelor’s degree in Public Policy Analysis from Syracuse University. Mr. Costello was formerly director of the Korea Program at the Atlantic Council of the US and director of the Kim Dae Jung Peace Foundation/USA. He was a political consultant and policy advisor to overseas political parties and mayors, and Washington manager for overseas NGOs. He has consulted for small technology businesses in Korea and the US. He has advised ministers and staff at the Foreign and Unification ministries in Seoul and the State Department in Washington. Beyond South Korea, Costello’s focus includes the Korean Peninsula, Northeast Asia, and the US interests in the region. In 2019 and 2020, he will explore Middle Power and infrastructure opportunities surrounding Korea. His column appears at The Korea Times. Twitter: @CostelloScost


Emanuel Pastreich

September 25, 2019 – September 25, 2021

Emanuel Pastreich founded the Asia Institute in 2007, a think tank that considers the interplay of technology, the environment and culture with a focus on East Asia.  His research work concerns the convergence of technologies in an age of unprecedented technological change and its implications for society and security. At the same time, he continues his original research on the classical novel in China, Japan and Korea. Pastreich has published three books in English: The Novels of Park Jiwon: Translation of Overlook Worlds (Seoul National University Press), The Observable Mundane: Vernacular Chinese and the Emergence of a Discourse on Popular Narrative in Edo Japan (Seoul National University Press) and Earth Management: A Dialogue on Ancient Korean Wisdom and Its Lessons for a New Earth (Best Life Media). Pastreich has written articles about the environment, technology, globalization, international relations and business in Asia for such journals as Japan FocusForeign Policy in FocusKorea TimesHuffington Post Japan and the Harvard Journal of Asiatic Studies. He has also published five books in Korean, two books in Chinese and one book in Japanese. Emanuel Pastreich graduated in the major of Chinese literature from Yale’s Department of East Asian Languages & Literatures in 1987. He has an M.A. in comparative literature from the University of Tokyo (1992) and a Ph.D. in comparative Asian literature from Harvard University (1998).   He served as assistant professor of Japanese literature at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign (1998-2005) and professor at the College of International Studies at Kyung Hee University (2011-2018) in South Korea.


Robert Jensen

January 1, 2020 – December 31, 2022

Bob Jensen brings more than 35 years of experience across a broad spectrum of assignments both inside and outside of the U.S. government, most recently as the Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary for Public Affairs for the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. In his current role he consults with national governments as well as major corporations globally. He provided on-the-ground advice and assistance during major events as well as crisis management and communication training to law enforcement agencies in the U.S. Working with the World Bank, he has advised national governments on risk and crisis management, improving emergency management and developing national public awareness campaigns. He also served as a spokesman for the White House’s National Security Council as well as for the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad. He led the Combined Forces Air Component’s media operations at the start of Operation Iraqi Freedom and led on the ground efforts to assess and improve coalition strategic communication effectiveness in Iraq and Afghanistan during four combat zone deployments.

Joongho Kim

August 1, 2020 – July 31, 2022

Dr. Joongho Kim is a non-resident scholar at the George Washington University’s Institute for Korean Studies (GWIKS). His primary research interests include North Korean economic transition, financial strategy for development assistance, and geo-political-economic dynamics in Northeast Asia. Before joining the GWIKS in 2018, he worked as a senior research fellow at the Export-Import Bank of Korea (KEXIM) over 8 years, through which he participated in numerous government projects and task forces regarding strategy making for effective engagement with North Korean economy. Prior to the career at the Bank, he taught at the University of Hawaii at Manoa and also served as a researcher at the Institute of Foreign Affairs & National Security (IFANS) of the ROK Foreign Ministry. He graduated from Sogang University in Seoul, majoring in political science. He received M.A. in international relations at the George Washington University and obtained Ph.D. in political science at the University of Hawaii at Manoa.


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