Katharina Zellweger will share her insights into North Korea based on her experience as a development and humanitarian aid worker and a resident of Pyongyang. Closely interacting with North Koreans daily, Zellweger lived in Pyongyang for five years as the North Korea country director for the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC). She is a Swiss national with over 30 years of experience in humanitarian work from an Asian base. Her primary engagement has been with China and North Korea.
While heading the SDC program in Pyongyang, Zellweger focused on sustainable agricultural production to address food security issues, income generation to improve people's livelihoods, and capacity development to contribute to individual and institutional learning.
Before joining SDC, Zellweger worked nearly 30 years at the Caritas Internationalis office in Hong Kong, where she pioneered the organization's involvement in China and North Korea. In recognition of her work in North Korea, the Vatican made Zellweger a Dame of St. Gregory the Great in 2006.
Zellweger holds a master's degree in international administration from the School of International Training in Brattleboro, Vermont, and a Swiss diploma in trade, commerce, and business administration. She also apprenticed with Switzerland’s national agricultural management program.
Zellweger joined the Korean Studies Program as the 2011—12 Pantech Fellow to conduct research on the transformation, especially social and economic change, of North Korea and its society.