North Korea Demystified

by Han S. Park

About Han S. Park

Han S. Park is University Professor of Public and International Affairs and the founding Director (in 1995) of the Center for the Study of Global Issues (Globis) at the University of Georgia. Dr. Park’s areas of specialty include political development, globalization, and comparative politics, with an emphasis on East Asian studies. Among his numerous publications are North Korea: the Politics of Unconventional Wisdom and Human Needs and Political Development. He has been deeply involved in a number of peacemaking initiatives with North Korea. Under his leadership, Globis has hosted several Track­ II seminars with participants from North Korea, South Korea, and the United States, most recently in October 2011. Dr. Park was also instrumental in realizing former president Jimmy Carter’s trips to Pyongyang in 1994 and 2010, which may well have averted a possible military confrontation between the United States and the DPRK. He has been relentless in his efforts to alleviate the nuclear tension on the Korean peninsula, making more than 50 trips to North Korea since 1990. His work has been widely praised, and in 2010 Dr. Park received the Gandhi, King, Ikeda Community Builders Award in recognition of his “extraordinary global leadership through nonviolence and reconciliation.” Past recipients of this award have included former South African President Nelson Mandela, Archbishop Desmond Tutu, and former Israeli Prime Minister Yitzak Rabin.

About the contributors:

About Bruce Cumings

Bruce Cumings is Gustavus F. and Ann M. Swift Distinguished Service Professor and Chair of the Department of History at the University of Chicago. His research and teaching focus is on modern Korean history, 20th-century international history, U.S.–East Asian relations, East Asian political economy, and American foreign relations. He is the editor of the modern volume of The Cambridge History of Korea (forthcoming), and is a frequent contributor to The London Review of Books, The Nation, Current History, the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, and Le Monde Diplomatique. A member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, Cumings was also the principal historical consultant for the Thames Television/PBS six­hour documentary, Korea: The Unknown War. In 2007, he won the Kim Dae Jung Prize for Scholarly Contributions to Democracy, Human Rights and Peace. He has just completed Dominion From Sea to Sea: Pacific Ascendancy and American Power, and is currently working on a synoptic single­volume study of the origins of the Korean War, as well as a book on the Northeast Asian political economy.

About Regan Damron

Regan Damron is a consultant in the Washington, DC area providing methodology development and analytical support to unnamed U.S. government clients. Prior to this position, he worked for the U.S. Department of Defense on national security matters. He holds a PhD in political science from the University of Georgia.

About Rüdiger Frank

Rüdiger Frank is Professor of East Asian Economy and Society at the University of Vienna and the Acting Director of the Vienna School of Governance. He is also an Adjunct Professor at Korea University and at the University of North Korean Studies in Seoul, as well as a Research Affiliate of the Modern East Asia Research Centre in Leiden, Netherlands. He holds an MA in Korean Studies, Economics, and International Relations as well as a PhD in Economics. He spent one semester as a language student at Kim Il-sung University in Pyongyang (1991–1992) and has been following North Korea ever since. His research focuses on the transformation of state socialist systems in East Asia, governance in East Asia, and regionalism in East Asia, with a strong emphasis on the Korean peninsula. He also held positions at Humboldt–University Berlin, Columbia University and Korea University. He is a coeditor of the yearly volume Korea: Politics, Economy and Society and of the book series Brill's Korean Studies Library. He has authored or coauthored seven books and over 80 articles on Korea and East Asia and was a consultant to European and Asian governments on Korean affairs, including a testimony before the European Parliament in Brussels and a report on North Korea for the French government. At the University of Vienna, he is responsible for coordinating social science­based research on contemporary East Asia. In June 2011, Professor Frank was invited to join the World Economic Forum, Global Agenda Council on Korea.

About Geir Helgesen

Geir Helgesen is Director of the Nordic Institute of Asian Studies in Copenhagen, Denmark and leading coordinator of the Eurasia Political Culture Research Network (EPCReN). He is also a senior advisor to the Danish Ministry of Foreign Affairs on Korean matters, as well as a frequent guest lecturer and a widely­used commentator in public media on Korean issues. Dr. Helgesen holds both MA and PhD degrees in Cultural Sociology from Copenhagen University in Denmark. His previous academic appointments include Senior Research Fellow at the Center for Pacific Asia Studies (CPAS) at Stockholm University and a Guest Researcher at the Institute of Comparative Politics, of Bergen University in Norway. In addition, Dr. Helgesen is a consultant to Nordic companies with activities in Korea, as well as a course instructor for the Federation of Danish Industries (DI) concerning Korea and cross­cultural business matters. He is the author of several journal articles and four books, including Good Government: Nordic and East Asian Perspectives, which is co­authored with Uichol Kim, and the forthcoming Politics, Culture and Self: East Asian and North European Attitudes, with S.R. Thomsen.

About Jonathan Polk

Jonathan Polk is a PhD candidate in the Department of International Affairs at the University of Georgia, and a research associate at the Center for the Study of Global Issues. He holds an MA from the University of Georgia, and a BA from St. John’s College. He has published in several journals such as Comparative Political Studies and European Union Politics.

About Hazel Smith

Hazel Smith is Professor of Resilience and Security and Director of the Resilience Centre at Cranfield University in the United Kingdom. Her most recent monograph is Hungry for Peace: International Security, Humanitarian Assistance and Social Change in North Korea. She recently directed three research projects that have each resulted in edited publications (2007). These are Humanitarian Diplomacy: Practitioners and their Craft, edited with Larry Minear of Tufts University; Diasporas in Conflict: Peace­Makers or Peace­Wreckers?, edited with Paul Stares of the Council on Foreign Relations, New York; and Reconstituting Korean Security: A Policy Primer. Dr. Smith has undertaken extensive field work in the DPRK, Nepal, China and Nicaragua––carrying out scholarly research and working for various intergovernmental and non­ governmental organizations. She commentates for the international media on the DPRK, East Asian security, the United Nations and humanitarian assistance. She is regularly interviewed on Asia­Pacific security, North Korea and international affairs by the BBC, global media including CNN, Voice of America, and Radio Free Asia; and was recently a panelist for Forum at PressTV, hosted by Andrew Gilligan.

About Alexander Zhebin

Alexander Zhebin is Director of the Center for Korean Studies (CKS) of the Institute of Far Eastern Studies (IFES) of the Russian Academy of Sciences in Moscow. He worked for 17 years as a journalist at the TASS News Agency. He served as TASS correspondent in Pyongyang, then TASS Bureau Chief in Pyongyang until 1990. He joined the IFES in 1992. In 1998 he served as First Secretary and Counselor of the Embassy of the Russian Federation in the DPRK till 2001. He is author of Pyongyang, Seoul, then Moscow (1991, in Korean) and Luster and Misery of the Kim’s Empire (1992, in Japanese). Dr. Zhebin is also author of numerous articles on political developments in the DPRK, Russia–North Korea relations, and security of the Korean peninsula.


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