Fellow Spotlight

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Elliot Silverberg was a non-resident Kelly fellow. He is a fellow at Georgetown University’s Institute for the Study of Diplomacy. Elliot has nearly five years of experience in strategic advisory, government relations, journalism, the legal field, and think tanks across Tokyo and Washington. He has worked at the U.S. Department of Commerce, the Center for Strategic and International Studies, The Asia Group, the Asia Pacific Initiative, the Tokyo Foundation for Policy Research, and Hogan Lovells LLP. His academic and professional interests include American foreign policy, U.S.-Japan relations, East Asian security and trade dynamics, public diplomacy, public opinion, sustainable development, and emerging markets and technologies. He has published in Foreign Policy, The Hill, South China Morning Post, The Diplomat, The National Interest, Stars and Stripes, East Asia Forum, The Interpreter (Lowy Institute), The Straits Times, The Japan Times, and elsewhere. He is currently completing a masters at Georgetown University’s Walsh School of Foreign Service.

We asked Elliot a few questions about himself and his fellowship experience.

What are your research interests?

Comparative politics, US Indo-Pacific relations, US diplomatic history, Japanese foreign policy, alliance politics, geoeconomics, image and perceptions theory, public opinion, public diplomacy, smart power, cultural conflict, nationalism, democracy and authoritarianism, media and the free press. More recently, I have acquired an interest in political methodologies, which I hope to develop over the coming years.

How did you hear about Pacific Forum and why did you apply to become a fellow?

Several colleagues and mentors at Georgetown University, where I am completing my masters, recommended I apply to become a Kelly fellow. Pacific Forum has a strong reputation formed over many decades as a constant bridge-builder between the United States and the Asia-Pacific. Pacific Forum’s hemisphere-wide network of policy scholar-practitioners, industry movers, and rising leaders offers numerous opportunities for community building, collaborative dialogue, and coauthorship. For somebody junior in the field like myself, the fellowship experience provides the means to develop academic research as well as a thought profile in the international policy world.

Briefly describe the research project you are undertaking as a Pacific Forum fellow:

At Pacific Forum, I am researching the conditions under which US-ROK-Japan trilateral relations improved or worsened during the post-Cold War era, factoring considerations of power, threat, identity, and perceptions.

Describe a Pacific Forum conference you attended and how it helped you in your career:

Pacific Forum hosts regular roundtable discussions with distinguished speakers for fellows. Such fora offer a tremendous opportunity to learn, exchange ideas, and develop meaningful relationships.

Share something you read recently that you enjoyed:

TSUTSUI Kiyotada (ed.)’s Fifteen Lectures on Showa Japan (2016) came highly recommended by a friend and mentor at the Tokyo Foundation. The book, actually an English translation of Showa-shi Kougi (2015), compiles essays from 15 prominent Japanese domestic and foreign policy historians that track a critical period of post-Meiji Japanese history dating from the inter-war years through the US Occupation. Essential reading for understanding Japan’s perspective on 20th-century history!

What are your future plans?

I’m hoping to pursue a PhD and support US Asia/Indo-Pacific policy in the near future.

What is a fun fact about you?

As a little kid I once dreamt of becoming a history professor. I may no longer desire a purely academic career, but my aspirations haven’t changed much, apparently.

Recent publications:

Publications since January 2020:

The Interpreter— Hong Kong: What China stands to lose

Stars and Stripes: Put America first by leading again

South China Morning Post: Asia shouldn’t underestimate America’s ability to counter China

The Hill: Inflamed American attitudes interfere in healthy competition with China

The Diplomat: Is the US-Philippines Alliance Obsolete?

Japan Times: Crisis offers an opportunity for radical educational reform

Japan Times— Better ties with China: Japan’s coronavirus silver lining?

South China Morning Post— Coronavirus silver lining for Japan: better ties with China?

Straits Times: Opportunity for the US to show global leadership

South China Morning Post: With China distracted, now is the time for Donald Trump to act on North Korea

Foreign Policy: East Asia’s Alliances Are Falling Apart


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Fellows previously featured in Fellow Spotlight:

Daniel Mitchum

Su Hyun Lee

Jennifer Howe

Eugenio Benincasa

Shwe Yee Oo

Elliot Silverberg

Dong-hyeon Kim