Check out our student panelists!

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2013 SAIS Asia Conference Panelist Bios

Panel 1:  Divergence and Energy Security in the Korean Peninsula

South Korea’s “New Silk Road” to Central Asia: Diplomacy and Business by Alison Evans

Alison Evans is a second-year SAIS M.A. candidate, concentrating in Korea Studies. Growing up in Singapore, Germany, and the Netherlands inspired her to pursue an international education and career. She read Japanese and Korean Studies at Oxford University, specialising in classical literature and researching the education of deaf children in Japan. After graduation, Alison worked in the public and private sectors in Kyoto, Brussels, and Zurich. During the summer intercession she interned in Seoul at Korean Air, doing market research for their Cargo Marketing Department. Alison sees the M.A. programme at SAIS as key to fulfilling three goals: investigating potential solutions to the major economic and political issues facing the modern world, becoming fluent in a second key language of Asia, and participating in a community that shares a passion and sense of urgency in promoting global co-operation.

Sources of Divergence between China and North Korea by Sungmin Cho

Sungmin Cho is a PhD student of the Department of Government at Georgetown University He received his BA in Political Science at Korea University and spent a year as an exchange student at the University of British Columbia in 2003-2004.  In 2005, Mr. Cho joined the Republic of Korea Army and served as an intelligence officer for three years, including a seven-month tour in Iraq in 2006. Sungmin holds an MA in international relations from Peking University with a degree dissertation, written in Chinese, on North Korea’s military provocations and their impacts on the Sino-U.S. relationships. He is also a recipient of the James Kelly Korean Studies Fellowship in 2011 and spent one year in Hawaii working with the Pacific Forum CSIS, a renowned foreign-policy research institute that operates as the Asia-Pacific arm of the Center for Strategic and International Studies of Washington, D.C.

Panel 2: Contested Identity

The Roles of Social Identity and Narrative in Preventing Long-Term Socio-economic Disparities in a Unified Korea by Kathleen R. Harrington

Kathleen Harrington is the Events and Outreach Coordinator for the Edmund A. Walsh School of Foreign Service’s Asian Studies Program at Georgetown University, where she is also pursuing her master’s degree in Conflict Resolution. She has previously served as the Research Assistant to the Korea Chair at the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) and completed internships at the Wilson Center’s North Korea International Documentation Project and the Maureen and Mike Mansfield Foundation. She received her B.A. in International Relations and East Asian Studies from the University of Toronto (Canada) and a certificate in Japanese Language and East Asian Studies from Kwansei Gakuin University in Japan.

Contested Cultural Heritage – A Challenge for Political Legitimacy by Tianyi Wang

Tianyi Wang is a Master’s Candidate of Asian Studies Program at Edmund A. Walsh School of Foreign Service, Georgetown University. She is also a current research intern at Freeman Chair in China Studies, Center for Strategic and International Studies. Her academic interests include China-DPRK/ROK relations, China-U.S. relations, leadership transition in Northeast Asia, and economics and trade in Asia.

Panel 3: Social Development in China

Sino-Foreign Inter-City Relationships and Tourism Revenue: A Quantitative Analysis by Benjamin Leffel

Benjamin Leffel is a Master’s Candidate in Comparative & Regional Studies (China) at American University’s School of International Service. He is an expert on the foreign affairs operations of Chinese and American cities, and outside of his graduate studies he works as a research consultant for the China Center of the International City/County Management Association.

The Political Economy of Weibos in China by Sherkhan A. Khan

Sherkhan A. Khan is pursuing his PhD in World Politics at Catholic University. His research interests include soft power, social media, China, and international political economy. Prior to attending Catholic University he was an Adjunct Professor at Nanjing University Business School.

Panel 4: Road to Economic Development

Politics of the Republic of Korea’s HCI Drive: Political Explanations for Its Implementation by Martha Schmitz

Martha Schmitz is pursuing a master’s degree in International Relations at SAIS with a concentration in Conflict Management.  She received her bachelor’s degree in history and political science in 2010.  Prior to attending SAIS, Martha taught English in France and the Czech Republic, and also interned at Korean Sharing Movement in Seoul.

Transforming mineral wealth into development: A primer on how to design Mongolia’s sovereign wealth fund by Frank-Alexander Raabe

Alexander F. Raabe is a second year MA student in the International Development Program at Johns Hopkins University’s School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS). Prior to SAIS, he analyzed economic policy at the EU-Delegation to Malaysia. He also focused on public procurement issues while preparing negotiations of a free trade agreement. Subsequently, at UNDP Malaysia Alexander conducted research on the nexus of competitiveness and affirmative action programs. Alexander obtained his Bachelor’s degree from a top business school in his native Germany, in 2010, after studies at the London School of Economics and Political Science and a semester abroad in Paris. During his undergraduate degree he gained work experience in the private sector in China, with the German Chamber of Commerce in Mexico, the German Embassy to Thailand and the Ministry of Economics.

Panel 5: Changing Demographics

Policy implication of cross-strait marriage by Yiqian Xu

Yiqian Sunny Xu is currently pursuing a master’s degree in international relations and international economics at Johns Hopkins University of Advanced International Studies, where she concentrates on China Studies and Energy, Resources and Environment. She received her BA from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 2010, with a dual major in International Studies and Political Science. Prior to attending SAIS, she worked in a number of non-profit organizations including International Rescue Committee, Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars and US-China Business Council. Currently, she works for Professor Carla Freeman as a research assistant.

The Philippine Reproductive Health Bill in Perspective: Advancing Rights for All by Elizabeth P. Vish

Elizabeth Vish is graduating in May with a M.A. from the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies in May of 2013, having focused Southeast Asia studies and trade policy. In 2012 she worked at a consulting firm in Singapore providing market analysis on the Philippines and Myanmar. Prior to SAIS, she worked on African programs at the National Democratic Institute for International Affairs.  She has work experience in Thailand and Kenya, in addition to Singapore.

Panel 6: US Foreign Policy in Asia

Making a Difference in Myanmar: Recommendations for U.S. Policy towards Myanmar, 2012-2017 by Cristina Garafola

Cristina Garafola is an M.A. candidate at the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies and holds a certificate from the Hopkins-Nanjing Center for Chinese and American Studies.  She is interested in the ramifications of China’s rise for its global status and its relationship with the United States. Cristina has previously interned at the Department of State and most recently with the Freeman Chair in China Studies at the Center for Strategic and International Studies.  She has also contributed publications to the Jamestown Foundation’s China Brief and the SAIS Review.  Cristina speaks Chinese, German, and is currently learning Burmese.

Daniel Greenland is a first year student at the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies focusing on Southeast Asia studies.  Daniel Greenland’s interest in Southeast Asia stems from his time as a Peace Corps Volunteer in the Philippines from 2008 to 2010. After the Peace Corps, Dan taught English in inner city Philadelphia, and previously worked for Merrill Lynch before attending Johns Hopkins SAIS. He recently returned home from intensive language training in Myanmar and hopes to return to Southeast Asia this summer for an internship.

Andrew Wasuwongse is a second year M.A. student at the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies, where he specializes in Southeast Asia studies with a focus on Myanmar and Thailand. While at SAIS, he helped to facilitate three visits by Burmese government delegations to Washington, D.C., which were hosted by SAIS last year. From June to August 2012, he worked as a consultant for World Vision Myanmar (WVM) and led an evaluation of WVM’s education programs in six locations throughout Myanmar. Prior to SAIS, Andrew served as an English teacher in Kachin State, Myanmar and in Thailand on the Thai-Myanmar border, after spending four years working for an international NGO in Thailand and in Washington, D.C. He speaks Thai and Burmese.

Multilateral Security in Asia by Kay Kahee Park

Kay Kahee Park is a Graduate Research Assistant at the James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies and a M.A. Candidate for Nonproliferation and Terrorism Studies at the Monterey Institute of International Studies.  She received her bachelor’s degree in International Affairs from Northeastern University.  She has previously interned in Boston City Councilor At-Large Sam Yoon’s Office, Massachusetts State Senate, and Governor Deval Patrick’s Office which helped her understand the policy process in municipal and state government.  She completed a social entrepreneurship and international leadership practicum at the Deshpande Foundation in India.  She has also worked as a research intern for the Academic Dean at the Geneva Centre for Security Policy in Switzerland on international security issues.  As a naturalized Korean-American, she aspires to understand the nuclear nuances and nonproliferation policy decisions regarding North Korea, South Korea, and Northeast Asia.  An avid distance runner, she has also recently completed the LA Marathon 2013.  There is nothing that excites her more than the words: pyroprocessing and 123 agreements.

India’s Expanding Naval Presence in the Indo-Pacific and Implications for US Foreign Policy by Ann D O’Neill

Ann D. O’Neil is a second year SAIS student working towards a concentration in Energy, Resources and the Environment and a specialization in International Finance. Before SAIS, she interned for the United States ASEAN Business Council and IHLO, a Chinese human rights organization. Ann received a B.S. in Economics and International Relations from Syracuse University in 2010. She served as a commodities market analyst at the Department of Energy for 6 months during the summer and fall of 2012. After SAIS, Ann plans to pursue a career in energy finance consulting or in project finance.