Bard News & Events

Press Release


Darren O'Sullivan

ANNANDALE-ON-HUDSON, N.Y.—On Thursday, February 19, Bard in China will gather leading scholars and diplomats to discuss the on-going crisis in North Korea. The forum, "North Korea, its Neighbors, and the United States," will explore the history of the current situation, the views of North Korea's regional neighbors, and the changing relationships among the leading parties: South Korea, Russia, China, Japan, and the United States. The event, co-sponsored by Bard's International Studies Program with support from the Freeman Undergraduate Asian Studies Initiative, is free and open to the public and takes place at 7:30 p.m. in room 115 of the Olin Language Center on the Bard College campus.

The panel includes Aleksandr N. Ilitchev, a senior officer with the United Nations Division of Asia and the Pacific, Department of Political Affairs; Charles K. Armstrong, an associate professor of Korean history at Columbia University and acting director of Columbia's Weatherhead East Asian Institute; and Leon Sigal, director of the Northeast Asia Cooperative Security Project at the Social Science Research Council in New York. The panel will be moderated by Jonathan Becker, dean of international studies and assistant professor of political studies at Bard.

Ilitchev's responsibilities at the UN include China, Japan, the Korean peninsula, Mongolia, and regional security issues. He accompanied UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan on his trips to Northeast Asia in 1999-2001 and, since January 2003, has been assisting the personal envoy of the Secretary-General on issues related to the Korean peninsula. A career diplomat, Ilitchev graduated from the Moscow State Institute for International Relations with an M.A. in international relations and journalism. From 1974 until 1992 he was with the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, where he was a senior political counselor of the Russian Permanent Mission to the United Nations and an alternate representative to the Security Council regarding the crises in Cambodia, Iraq-Kuwait, Afghanistan, and the former Yugoslavia. He was a member of the national negotiating team on the Cambodian Settlement and Paris Agreements (1989-91), and he was a personal assistant and advisor to the office of former Russian Foreign Minister Eduard Shevardnadze (1986-90). He has conducted graduate work in affiliation with the Brookings Institution and the U.S.A. and Canada Institute in Moscow.

Armstrong teaches modern Korean, East Asian, and international history at Columbia University. He has published widely on Korean history, politics, and current affairs in numerous scholarly journals. He is the author of The North Korean Revolution, 1945-1950 (Cornell University Press, 2003) and Korean Society: Civil Society, Democracy, and the State (Routledge, 2002). He is currently writing a book on North Korean foreign relations from the Korean War to the present. Armstrong received his B.A. in east Asian studies from Yale University, M.Sc. in international relations from the London School of Economics, and Ph.D. in History from the University of Chicago. He has taught at Chicago, Princeton, the University of Washington in Seattle, and Carleton University in Ottawa, Canada. He was formerly chair of the Center for Korean Research at Columbia University and is currently acting director of Columbia’s Weatherhead East Asian Institute. Armstrong is a frequent commentator on Korean affairs on television and radio and in print media in the United States and abroad.

Sigal is the author of Disarming Strangers: Nuclear Diplomacy with North Korea, which was one of five nominees for the Lionel Gelber Prize as the most outstanding book in the field of international relations for 1997-98 and was named 1998 book of distinction on the practice of American diplomacy by the American Academy of Diplomacy. His most recent book, Hang Separately: Cooperative Security Between the United States and Russia, 1985-1994, was published by the Century Foundation in 2000. Sigal was a member of the editorial board of the New York Times from 1989 until 1995. In 1979 he served as international affairs fellow in the Bureau of Politico-Military Affairs at the Department of State and, in 1980, as special assistant to the director. He was a Rockefeller Younger Scholar in foreign policy studies at the Brookings Institution from 1972-74 and a guest scholar there from 1981-84. From 1974 to 1989, he taught international politics at Wesleyan University as a professor of government. He was an adjunct professor at Columbia University's School of International and Public Affairs from 1985 to 1989 and from 1996 to 2000, and a visiting lecturer at Princeton University's Woodrow Wilson School in 1988 and 2000.

For more information about the forum, please call 845-758-7388 or e-mail

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This event was last updated on 02-25-2004