Columbus State Professors Present at Washington Seminar on Korea

COLUMBUS, Ga. — Three Columbus State University professors will be special guests in Washington, D.C. next week as featured participants in a panel discussion toward North Korea-South Korea unification.

Korea expert Tom Dolan, chair of CSU’s Department of Political Science and Public Administration, will be joined by Kyle Christensen, an assistant professor in the department and director of CSU’s Social Research Center, and Kimberly Gill, also an assistant professor there and director of CSU’s Master of Public Administration program.

They will be featured speakers on Feb. 13 in a panel discussion at the Korea Economic Institute, a not-for-profit, educational organization affiliated with a Seoul research institute. Their presentation and discussion will focus on “South Korean Attitudes Toward the U.S. Rebalance to Asia and Korean Unification.”  The event will be live-streamed on the KEI website (keia.org) and may viewed online afterward.

The CSU faculty will take part in KEI’s Academic Paper Series program, where two reports will be presented, deliberated, and compared. First, Karl Friedhoff of the Asian Institute for Policy Studies will discuss his paper on the same topic. The CSU group will then share their latest research, which resulted from Dr. Dolan's field work in South Korea and North Korea in 2012.

In 2012, Dolan visited South Korea to do public opinion research in the cities of Seoul, Incheon and Busan regarding unification. Because the surveys were written in Korean, translating and sorting the data took more time than usual.  “It was focused on attitudes South Koreans have on unification,” Dolan said. “About what they think the obstacles to unification are and particularly seeing if people of different ages have different opinions on it.”

Their paper will be distributed internationally to about 5,000 Korean policy followers, as well as the international audience expected to attend the panel discussion.

Dolan has worked with the KEI for almost five years. KEI’s president during Dolan’s initial visit was Ambassador Charles L. “Jack” Pritchard, former special envoy for negotiations with North Korea. Pritchard came to Columbus in September 2009 as the keynote speaker for CSU’s Hallock Lecture Series. Later, KEI’s academic director, Nicole Finnemann, helped Dolan with a 2010 course he was teaching on North Korea and the Six-Party Talks related to North Korea’s nuclear program.

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