The New York-based Korea Society and Stanford University's Walter H. Shorenstein Asia-Pacific Research Center launched the nonpartisan "New Beginnings" policy study group on January 10, 2008, to offer recommendations on how U.S. policymakers could expand and strengthen the alliance between the United States and the Republic of Korea (ROK, or South Korea). Composed of former senior U.S. government officials, scholars, and other American experts on U.S.-Korean relations, the New Beginnings project team premised its efforts on the belief that the inauguration of a new South Korean president in February 2008 and a new American president in January 2009 would provide a special opportunity for the two countries to increase mutual understanding and transform the alliance into a global partnership. In a coincidence occurring only once every twenty years, the two new presidents' terms of office would overlap for a full four years. Moreover, the alliance needed renewal and revitalization after years of strain and tension that arose from divergent worldviews of progressive governments in Seoul and a conservative administration in Washington.
Since its establishment, the New Beginnings policy study group has issued a report to the U.S. administration each year. New Beginnings' reports and recommendations reflect insights gained from group conferences as well as individual members' continuing engagement with U.S.-Korean affairs.