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The U.S.-South Korea Alliance: Addressing North Korea and a Changing World

September 11, 2019

Ambassador Kathleen Stephens, former U.S. Ambassador to the Republic of Korea, is currently the President and CEO of the Korea Economic Institute of America. Ambassador Stephens will start our Foreign Policy Forum season with a discussion of the dynamic alliance between the United States and South Korea confronted with new and evolving challenges. Crucially, the alliance is now tasked with maintaining military preparedness against North Korea while simultaneously pursuing diplomacy with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un. This, however, comes amid rising competition between the U.S. and China, South Koreaโ€™s largest trading partner and a key player in resolving the North Korea issue, as well as a more critical view from the White House on the role of allies. Though the path forward for the alliance is not yet clear, close coordination on a range of issues will be needed to advance the shared goals of both countries. How will the United States and South Korea continue to shape their alliance while facing these new challenges?

Ambassador Stephens retired from the Foreign Service in 2015 and assumed leadership of KEI as President and CEO in September of 2018. Ambassador Stephens was a career diplomat in the U.S. Foreign Service from 1978 to 2015. She was U.S. Ambassador to the Republic of Korea (2008-2011) and was the first woman and first Korean speaker to serve in that position. Korea has been significant throughout Ambassador Stephens’ life, as she served in Korea as a Peace Corps volunteer and trainer from 1975 to 1977. Other Foreign Service assignments included postings to Portugal, former Yugoslavia, China, Northern Ireland, and India. In addition, Ambassador Stephens served in a number of policy positions in Washington including acting Under Secretary of State for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs (2012), Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific Affairs (2005-2007), Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs (2003-2005), and National Security Council Director for European Affairs at the Clinton White House.


5:30 PM Reception

6:00 PM Program begins

6:45 PM Q&A

7:15 PM Program concludes

Admission:ย Non-Members $25; Members $15; Students $5

Location:ย The Union Club, Wedgwood Room. 1211 Euclid Ave, Cleveland, Ohio 44115.


Online registration for this event has closed. If you have any questions or would still like to attend, please call Andrea at 216-282-1041.


Parking at the Union Club is $12 (cash only) for valet service. Additional parking options include other lots in the downtown area and street parking, if parking restrictions are not in place. Car services, such as Uber and Lyft, are always an option. CCWA also encourages walking, biking, or public transportation, including the RTA.



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