Gi-Wook Shin Appointed William J. Perry Professor of Contemporary Korea

Portrait of Gi-Wook Shin
Rod Searcey
Stanford Korean studies expert Gi-Wook Shin has been named the William J. Perry Professor of Contemporary Korea, an endowed professorship established jointly by the Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies (FSI) and the School of Humanities and Sciences (H&S). Shin is a professor in the Department of Sociology, senior fellow at FSI, director of the Walter H. Shorenstein Asia-Pacific Research Center (APARC) at FSI, and the founding director of the Korea Program within APARC.
“Gi-Wook is richly deserving of this appointment,” said FSI Director Michael McFaul. “He is a remarkable colleague and scholar who established a unique Korean studies program at Stanford and, within a relatively short period of time, built it into a leading research hub on contemporary Korea and U.S.-Korea relations. Grounded in the social sciences, the program’s approach to exploring issues of vital importance to policymaking in the United States and Korea from cross-regional and comparative perspectives is at the forefront of FSI’s efforts to foster global engagement through research and teaching.”
The William J. Perry professorship of contemporary Korea was established thanks to a generous gift from Jeong H. Kim, a technology entrepreneur passionate about education and public service, in honor of Professor William Perry, his mentor and friend, who played a significant role in encouraging Kim’s entrepreneurship. Perry is the Michael and Barbara Berberian Professor (emeritus) at Stanford and senior fellow at FSI. An expert in U.S. foreign policy, national security, and arms control, Perry was the 19th U.S. Secretary of Defense, serving during the 1994 crisis on the Korean peninsula. He has long worked inside and outside of government toward a peaceful resolution to the conflict on the Korean peninsula, an effort that he continues today as director of the Preventive Defense Project at FSI. Having witnessed the growth of the Korea Program under Gi-Wook Shin’s leadership, Kim decided to endow a professorship on contemporary Korea, which was named after Perry upon his retirement.
A prolific scholar, Shin is the author and editor of more than twenty books and numerous articles. Some of his recent books include Strategic, Policy and Social Innovation for a Post-Industrial Korea: Beyond the Miracle (2018); Superficial Korea (2017); Divergent Memories: Opinion Leaders and the Asia-Pacific War (2016); Global Talent: Skilled Labor as Social Capital in Korea (2015); and Troubled Transition: North Korea’s Politics, Economy, and External Relations (2013). Due to the wide popularity of his publications, many of them have been translated and distributed to Korean audiences. He frequently contributes expert commentary and analysis on the two Koreas and U.S.-Korea relations in both American and Korean news outlets. 
Shin is currently leading a multi-year research cluster that advocates for a “New Asia” of social, cultural, and economic maturity. It includes several projects that analyze a host of issues, such as flows of talent across national boundaries and talent management practices and policies harnessed by leading Asia-Pacific countries to compete in the new global knowledge economy; migration and diversity programs and policies of Asia-Pacific universities, corporations, and governments, and their impact on innovation and creativity; and the interests and policy environments of the two Koreas and their neighbors in relation to the North Korean nuclear problem, the U.S.-DPRK dialogue, the U.S.-ROK alliance, the rise of China, and Korean reunification.
“I am honored to become the William J. Perry Professor of Contemporary Korea,” said Shin. “As a Korean American scholar, my mission has been to strengthen the bonds between the two countries to which I am most attached. It has been a blessing to work together with collogues, friends, and partners at Stanford and in the United States and Korea to deliver on that mission through the Korea Program research, education, and outreach. I am proud of our accomplishments to date and look forward to addressing the challenges ahead and building on our record of achievement.”
Previously Shin held the Tong Yang, Korea Foundation, and Korea Stanford Alumni Chair of Korean Studies. His appointment as the William J. Perry Professor of Contemporary Korea concludes a long search for a candidate to fill the position. “We are thankful to Gi-Wook for his patience throughout the search process,” said McFaul. “This professorship is especially important at a time when changing regional relations and geopolitical developments around the Korean peninsula are front and center to U.S. and international interests.”

Media contact:
Noa Ronkin, Associate Director for Communications and External Relations
Walter H. Shorenstein Asia-Pacific Research center