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The Human Condition and Theories of Unification in Korea – talk by Victor Cha at SOAS

Notice of a talk at SOAS next week by Victor Cha, whose Impossible State: North Korea, Past and Future has been on my reading pile for rather too long.

Please note that seats are limited so please RSVP to Suliane Tillon at 618053 at soas dot ac dot uk.

The Human Condition and Theories of Unification in Korea

The new SOAS logoProfessor Victor D. Cha
Tuesday 7 April 2015
17.00 – 19.00
Room 116, Main Building, SOAS, University of London


Why has there been a flurry of activity related to human rights abuses in North Korea within the international community over the past year despite decades of neglect, Chinese indifference, and an unchanged situation on the ground? How should we think about a human rights approach with one of the most opaque regimes in modern history? How should we think about unification and its relations to human rights and what are the implications for EU and U.S. policies? Dr. Cha, author of the critically acclaimed, award-winning book The Impossible State and former director for Asian affairs at the White House National Security Council, will discuss these questions as well as the road ahead for President Obama’s “pivot” or “rebalance” to Asia.


Victor Cha joined CSIS in May 2009 as a senior adviser and the inaugural holder of the Korea Chair. He is also director of Asian studies and holds the D.S. Song-KF Chair in the Department of Government and School of Foreign Service at Georgetown University. From 2004 to 2007, he served as director for Asian affairs at the White House on the National Security Council (NSC), where he was responsible primarily for Japan, the Korean peninsula, Australia/New Zealand, and Pacific Island nation affairs. Dr. Cha was also the deputy head of delegation for the United States at the Six-Party Talks in Beijing and received two Outstanding Service Commendations during his tenure at the NSC. He is the award-winning author of Alignment Despite Antagonism: The United States-Korea-Japan Security Triangle (Stanford University Press, 1999), winner of the 2000 Ohira Book Prize; Nuclear North Korea: A Debate on Engagement Strategies, with Dave Kang (Columbia University Press, 2004); Beyond the Final Score: The Politics of Sport in Asia (Columbia University Press, 2009); and The Impossible State: North Korea, Past and Future (Ecco, 2012), selected by Foreign Affairs magazine as a 2012 “Best Book on Asia and the Pacific.” His next book is Powerplay: Origins of the American Alliance System in Asia (Princeton University Press, forthcoming).

Dr. Cha is a former John M. Olin National Security Fellow at Harvard University, a two-time Fulbright Scholar, and a Hoover National Fellow, CISAC Fellow, and William J. Perry Fellow at Stanford University. He holds Georgetown University’s Dean’s Teaching Award for 2010 and the Distinguished Research Award for 2011. Dr. Cha holds a B.A., an M.I.A., and a Ph.D. from Columbia University, as well as an M.A. from Oxford University.


Centre for the International Politics of Conflicts, Rights and Justice (CCRJ), in association with the London Transitional Justice Network (LTJN).

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