The US-Korea NextGen Scholars Program is an initiative by CSIS Korea Chair and the USC Korean Studies Institute, with support from the Korea Foundation to help mentor the next generation of Korea specialists in the United States.

This unique two-year program (non-resident) provides opportunities for mid-career Korea specialists to discuss issues of importance to US-Korea relations with policymakers, government officials, and opinion leaders in Korea and the United States.

The NextGen Scholars are mentored by two renowned Korea specialists, program chairs Dr. Victor Cha of CSIS and Georgetown University and Dr. David Kang of the University of Southern California. The program is further supported by an advisory committee of American and Korean advisers with vast experience in academia, government, and the private sector.

Learn more about the previous 2020-2021 class of scholars here.

Program Goals

  • Create a network of mid-career Korea specialists with diverse backgrounds and experiences who will make long-term contributions to the US-Korea relationship.
  • Help Korea specialists become more relevant to the policymaking process.
  • Increase the visibility of young Korea specialists and provide opportunities for engagement with policymakers and the private sector.
  • Encourage new Korea-related research and projects and collaboration among participants.
  • NextGen Scholars will author an op-ed and film a video lecture (Korea Questions) as part of the program graduation.



The Washington Program takes place in DC in January. The Washington Program is the first opportunity for scholars to connect in person. As scholars meet with policymakers, academics, and journalists, the goal of the program is to introduce people to the workings of Washington, which is accomplished through presentations by Korea experts, current and former government officials, and field visits to government departments and Congress.


NextGen Scholars stand in front of the White House

Los Angeles

The Los Angeles Program is held at the University of Southern California in spring. The theme of the Los Angeles Program is academic professionalization and media training, with scholars participating in op-ed writing workshops, media training, and taping of the “Korea Questions” video series on the USC campus. Scholars will also engage in professionalization sessions on publishing and interviewing, and other related academic mentoring.


NextGen Scholars sit around the Ahn House conference table with papers in front of them



The last part of the program takes place in summer in Seoul. Scholars will get the chance to meet with ROK government officials, journalists, academics and the US embassy. The goal of the Seoul Program is to expose scholars to South Korea’s policy structures.


2022-23 NextGen scholars sit around a table looking at senior advisor Yoon Young Kwan


NextGen Scholars Op-ed Samples

These op-eds were workshopped at the Los Angeles Program in 2019, with feedback from program chairs and the Senior Advisory Board:

Katrin Katz, “When Tokyo and Seoul Fight, a Complacent Washington Loses”, The Diplomat, March 26, 2019.

Stephanie Kim, “The US admissions scandal shows that perceptions of opportunity are narrowing,” Times Higher Education, March 28, 2019.

Benjamin Young, “Why the Second Summit Between Donald Trump and Kim Jong Un Failed,”  History News Network, April 7, 2019.

Tom Le, “America’s New Danger Zone: Divisions with Japan Could Wreck Negotiations with North Korea,” The National Interest, April 9, 2019.

Tom Le, “Why Japan-South Korea history disputes keep resurfacing,” The Washington Post, July 23, 2019.

Korea Questions on YouTube

As part of the media training program in Los Angeles, scholars work on a project called Korea Questions, which feature NextGen scholars addressing an important issue relevant to their expertise. Find the full Korea Questions playlist on the USC KSI YouTube channel.


For questions about the program, please contact Andy Lim at Follow the program on Facebook.


US-Korea NextGen Scholars Program 2018-19