A group of students from South Korea’s Asan Academy visited the US Department of State and met Ambassador Robert King on November 2, 2016. King, Special Envoy for North Korean Human Rights Issues, gave a talk to the students on ‘US Policy on North Korean Human Rights and the Challenges Ahead’ followed by a question and answer session. All of the students were Asan Young Fellows, interning at DC based think tanks and NGOs on Asan Academy scholarships.
Asan Academy is a leadership program supported by Asan Institute for Policy Studies, a renowned think tank in South Korea. Twice a year, Asan Academy selects thirty South Korean undergraduate and graduate students to be Young Fellows, recipients of a year-long leadership-training program. The selected students receive a diverse, liberal arts-style education, before being sent to Washington DC or Beijing for five-month internships. In addition to the internships, fellows also experience a rich program of meetings with government officials, lectures by distinguished scholars, cultural tours, and regional volunteer work.
Currently, there are twenty-one Asan Young Fellows working at nineteen different organizations in Washington DC, such as Center for Strategic and International Studies, Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, Heritage Foundation and Amnesty International. Since its establishment in August 2012, Asan Academy has sent nine groups of students to Washington DC with 238 qualified South Korean students participating in total.
The South Korean government also sends on average four hundred students per year through an internship program called Work, English Study, and Travel (WEST), with Washington DC being one of the most attractive cities for participants. South Korean students make up 8.9% of international students in Washington DC and Seoul, the capital of South Korea has a sister city relationship with Washington, DC.
Jeesu Lee is a Research Intern at the East-West Cen