Regional Security Challenges: Korea Initiative

This is a major program to enhance the teaching of Korea-related subjects, including language and security issues at Georgia Tech. The Korea Initiative ensures regional pre-eminence of Georgia Tech as a center for Northeast Asian security studies and security studies.

Korea Speaker Series

Funded generously by the Korea Foundation, a lecture series focusing on Korea-related subjects and featuring Korean experts from around the world is offered every other year. Past speakers include: General Ray Davis; General William Livsey; Ambassador Lee Ho-jin, South Korean Deputy Ambassador to the United Nations; and Ambassador Charles Kartman, executive director of the Korean Peninsula Energy Development Organization (KEDO). Ms. Merrily Baird, security analyst and expert on Kim Jong-il; Professor John Endicott of the Sam Nunn School of International Affairs; Ambassador Charles L. (Jack) Pritchard, Office of the Envoy for Negotiations with the DPRK and U.S. Representative to KEDO; and Ambassador Han Sung Joo, South Korean Ambassador to the U.S.; Ambassador Thomas Hubbard, U.S. Ambassador to South Korea; General Kim Jae Chang; Dr. William Brown, economist with the U.S. Department of Commerce; and Dr. Balbina Hwang of the Heritage Foundation.


The 2007-2008 Lecture Series focused on the December 2007 Presidential elections in South Korea and the effect these elections will have on the Korean Peninsula, East Asia, U.S. foreign policy, and the U.S.-ROK relationship. The 2007-2008 Lecture Series featured the following participants:

Korea Conferences

On alternate years, conferences focusing on Korea-related subjects are held, also generously funded by the Korea Foundation.

  • The 2006 Conference theme was on “Korea: Challenges for the 21st Century”. Presenters included Dr. Kim Hak Joon of Dong a Ilbo newspaper; Ambassador Marion Creekmore who accompanied President Carter to Pyongyang in 1994; Dr. Kongdong Katy Oh of the Institute for Defense Analyses; Mr. Cho Hyun, Korean Ambassador to the United Nations; journalist Don Kirk; and Dr. Ralph Hassig of the University of Maryland University College.

  • In February 2009, the Korea Conference studied "The Six-Party Talks and Korea’s Energy Security." Funded by the Korea Foundation, the conference featured Korea and energy experts from government, academia, and business sectors around the globe.

  • On November 8, 2010, diplomats, energy policy experts, academics, and students from the U.S. and South Korea convened at Georgia Tech to explore Korea’s energy security from a regional perspective. The conference was hosted by CISTP and funded primarily by the Korea Foundation. Speakers included diplomats with extensive practical experience contending with security policy on the Korean peninsula, as well as scholars with specialization on energy policy, East Asian affairs, and international security. Preceding the Conference, on November 7th, was a dinner for conference participants and invited faculty, local scholars, and select student interns.

  • On October 9, 2012, CISTP and the Korean Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (KAIST) held a panel discussion on the prospects for strengthening nuclear energy cooperation between the U.S. and South Korea.  As part of an effort to advance respective national deliberations on the renewal of this important partnership, CISTP and KAIST convened a panel of esteemed scholars and policy experts to explore key technological, economic, political, and strategic dimensions to the issue.  This event was generously supported by a grant from the Korea Foundation.

Community Outreach

Educating the greater Atlanta community on Korean affairs is another aspect of the Korea Initiative. Faculty and staff of CISTP have been active members of the Korea America Friendship Society and the Korea Southeast U.S. Chamber of Commerce. Both groups have co-sponsored Korea Initiative programs. The Korean American Committee (KAC), an organization of young professionals, has also co-sponsored events and speakers with CISTP. In addition, CISTP has provided experts on Korea to speak at the International House, a residential dorm and international cultural program on the Georgia Tech campus.