Skip to content

James A. Kelly Korea Fellowship

The James A. Kelly Korean Studies Fellowship Program will promote academic study, research, and professional career paths focused on Korean Peninsula studies by young Kelly Fellows.

It recognizes the exemplary efforts of Jim Kelly to improve US-ROK relations and encourage the DPRK to denuclearize and join the international community of nations.

The overall objective of the fellowship is to promote stronger US-ROK, US-DPRK, and inter-Korean relations through a variety of Pacific Forum programs. The fellowship makes a deliberate effort to encourage the study of Korean economic and security issues, with particular focus on raising awareness among the next generation of scholars and officials in the US, ROK, and worldwide about the vital role the Korean Peninsula plays in regional and international affairs.

Kelly Fellows will develop their knowledge of Korean Peninsula issues through participation in the Pacific Forum’s Young Leaders program, research under the guidance of Pacific Forum senior staff, and the continuing series of U.S.-ROK and broader tri-/multilateral forums.

Applications for fellowships are currently closed. Please check back later to see when it re-opens. 

Eligibility and How to Apply:

  • Open citizenship
  • Have completed their undergraduate education and
    • Have several years of experience in Indo-Pacific security issues, or
    • Has completed or is completing their graduate education (master’s or doctoral)
  • Proficient in English (verbal and written skills)
  • For non-U.S. citizens, applicant must possess or be eligible for an extended stay visa

To apply for the Kelly Fellowship, please complete the Non-resident Kelly Fellowship online application form and include all materials listed below. All materials must be written in English. Any statement in your application that is found to be false will be grounds for disqualification.

  • A cover letter detailing interests and why the Kelly Fellowship will contribute to the applicant’s professional development
  • Curriculum Vitae
  • A letter of recommendation
  • A description of a research project to undertake as a Kelly Fellow (not to exceed 1,500 words)​

Important Notice: Pacific Forum is closely monitoring the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak and following the latest guidance from the Office of the Mayor, City and County of Honolulu and the State of Hawaii. 

Current Resident Fellow:

Akhil Ramesh (IND) holds an M.S. with a concentration in global macroeconomics from New York University in New York, a certificate in business and geopolitics from HEC Paris, France and a BBA from Amity University, India. Born and raised in India, Akhil started his career in the Philippines, and over the past seven years, he has lived and worked across three continents, wearing different hats with risk consulting firms, think tanks and governments. Most recently, he worked with the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade on geo-economic issues in southern India. Prior to that, based out of New York City, worked as a project coordinator and lead of the mapping project of China’s Belt and Road Initiative at the EastWest Institute. With research interests at the nexus of geoeconomics and security policy, he is currently working on a number of projects related to infrastructure development in Asia, supply chains, grand strategy in the Indo-Pacific. His analysis has been widely published across global and regional journals such as Nikkei Asia, South China Morning Post, The Hill, The Diplomat, National Interest, Economic Times and Hindustan Times.

Current Non-resident Fellows:

Francesca Frassineti (Italy) is a postdoctoral research fellow at the University of Bologna and an associate research fellow at the Asia Centre of the Italian Institute for International Political Studies (ISPI) in Milan. She is also an adjunct professor of History of Contemporary East Asia at Ca’ Foscari University in Venice. Her work mostly focuses on the domestic, foreign, and security policies of the Korean Peninsula, EU-Korea relations, and public diplomacy in East Asia. She is currently conducting research on South Korea’s security engagement with individual European and NATO member countries amid the changing defense-industrial landscape. In 2022 Francesca was selected as an emerging leader for the National Committee on American Foreign Policy (NCAFP) and as a fellow for the Korea Foundation Next Generation Policy Expert Network with Chatham House. She is a member of the Association for Asian Studies (AAS) and the Association for Korean Studies in Europe (AKSE).


Gagan Hitkari holds a Masters in Conflict Analysis and Peacebuilding from Jamia Millia Islamia University, India and is currently pursuing Korean language at the University of Delhi. His research interests include Disarmament, Nuclear diplomacy, India’s foreign policy, Inter-Korean relations and North Korea’s nuclear policy.


Lee Jeong-Ho (ROK), a firm believer in journalism’s role in advancing democracy and empowering citizens through information dissemination, is a seasoned journalist set to join Radio Free Asia as a Senior Korea Correspondent in September. He is currently in the final stages of his PhD in Politics Research at King’s College London, with a focus on China-North Korea relations and Pyongyang’s nuclear strategy. Jeong-Ho’s career includes key positions at Bloomberg News, the South China Morning Post and News1 in Seoul, Hong Kg and Washington D.C., where he covered a wide range of global events and security affairs. A former Lieutenant in the Republic of Korea Air Force, Jeong-Ho brings deep insights into North Korean politics and human rights issues. A graduate of Seoul National University and the University of Sydney, Jeong-Ho’s journalistic and research endeavors are guided by his unswerving commitment to fostering democracy and strengthening ties among like-minded nations.

Won-June Hwang (ROK) is a Ph.D. Student in Military Studies at the Korea National Defense University. He holds an MA in International Relations from Kyung-Hee University and a BA in Military Studies from the Korea Military Academy (KMA). Prior to his Ph.D. program, Hwang served as an Assistant Professor in the Department of Political Science and Sociology at KMA. With extensive experience as a commander and staff member in the field, his research interests encompass alliance politics, denuclearization, and militarized disputes. Hwang has presented his work at conferences including MPSA, IPSA, and KAIS and published in journals such as Defense & Security Analysis, Comparative Strategy, and International Journal of China Studies. He is the recipient of numerous awards recognizing his academic prowess, such as the Emerging Security Academic Award from INSS, the Academic Paper Award from KNDA, and the Defense Future Talent Academic Award from KIDA.

Alexander M. Hynd (UK) is a PhD candidate in international relations at the University of New South Wales (UNSW) in Sydney, and a research associate at UNSW’s Korea Research Initiatives. His research interests include South Korea’s regional strategy, nuclear non- proliferation, energy transition and maritime security. Since 2017 Alexander has worked as a corporate security analyst in Seoul, most recently as senior research analyst in the Risk Management Group of top-ten South Korean law firm DR & AJU LLC. In 2020 his policy- oriented papers on Korean Peninsula issues were awarded three prizes, including a presidential citation from President Moon Jae-in; and in 2021 he was selected as an emerging leader for the National Committee on American Foreign Policy (NCAFP) and as an associate fellow at the Higher Education Academy. Alexander holds an MA in international studies from Korea University and a BA in politics from SOAS, University of London.


Sanggyu Jung (ROK) worked for the ROK government for more than six years as an air force officer at the DMZ. He was also a policy consultant for the Presidential Office and the Ministry of Gender Equality. Before his career in government, he studied mathematics and economics at an undergraduate level and public policy and public administration (MS) and Korean modern history (PhD) at a graduate level. His research interests are the relations of the two Koreas and the new formation of Korea-Japan relations.


Gordon D. Henning (USA) was a Research Analyst and Project Manager at the consultancy Lixia Capsia Gestionis (LixCap). At LixCap, Gordon worked in several sectors such as agriculture, energy, supply chain, economic growth and investment with multiple market analyses produced covering those sectors. Additionally, Gordon volunteers as a Research Committee member at the Sejong Society of Washington D.C. drafting brief blog posts highlighting trending topics related to security and politics in the Korea Peninsula. Prior to his work at LixCap, Gordon completed internship at the U.S. Department of Commerce and the Korea Economic Institute of America during his graduate studies. Gordon holds an MA in Asian Studies from the Walsh School of Foreign Service at Georgetown University and a BA in History, with a Minor in Asian Studies, from University at Buffalo.


Abhishek Sharma (IND) is a Ph.D. Candidate in Korean Studies at the Department of East Asian Studies, University of Delhi, where his research focuses on the intersection between New Emerging Technologies and the Geopolitics of East Asia. He holds a First-Class Master’s degree in International Relations from South Asian University. In 2022, he was selected for the Quadmin Emerging Leaders dialogue, and as NCAFP Emerging leader, where he contributed a policy brief on North Korea’s cyber strategy. His research interests include South and North Korea’s Foreign Policy, Indo-Pacific Power dynamics, and India’s Act East Policy. His writings have been featured in several publications, including the South Korea Pro, 9Dashline, South Asian Voices, Eurasia Review, ORCA, and WION. Since 2020 and subsequently, Abhishek has worked with organizations such as OGIP, UNOY, and Global Peace Hub working in the field of WPS Agenda and YPS Agenda at regional and international levels.