June 23, 2011 - Shorenstein APARC News
Incoming Pantech Fellow Katharina Zellweger brings a humanitarian perspective on North Korea
The Korean Studies Program (KSP) at Stanford University’s Walter H. Shorenstein Asia-Pacific Research Center (Shorenstein APARC) announces that Katharina Zellweger, currently the North Korea country director for the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC), will be the program’s 2011–2012 Pantech Fellow.
Zellweger joins KSP this November after five years of living in Pyongyang, where she works side-by-side with a large North Korean staff on aid and development projects. Through her SDC and earlier work, she has witnessed modest economic and social changes not visible to most North Korea observers. Her research at Shorenstein APARC will draw on her over fifteen years of humanitarian work in North Korea and explore how aid intervention can stimulate positive sustainable change there.
While heading SDC’s Pyongyang office, Zellweger has focused on sustainable agricultural production and income generation projects. She is well versed in observing and reporting on political, social, and economic trends and developments. As the Swiss government’s top official living in North Korea, Zellweger also represents her country at official meetings with North Korean leaders when the Swiss ambassador, who resides in Beijing, is unavailable.
Prior to joining the SDC, Zellweger worked for nearly thirty years at the Caritas Internationalis office in Hong Kong, the center of its international activities. She organized and led aid and development projects related to North Korea for ten years there. Her work included collaborating with the media to generate national and international awareness about North Korean humanitarian issues.
Zellweger holds an MA in international administration from the School of International Training in Brattleboro, Vermont, and a Swiss diploma in trade, commerce, and business administration. She also apprenticed with Switzerland’s national agricultural management program.
In 2006, the Vatican named Zellweger as a Dame of St. Gregory the Great, and in 2005 South Korea’s Tji Hak-soon Justice and Peace Foundation honored her with its annual award. She is an active member of the International Women’s Forum and of the Kadoorie Charitable Trust.
“No one in the world has more experience than Director Zellweger in dealing with North Korean humanitarian and development issues,” says KSP director Gi-Wook Shin. “We are delighted that she will join us to reflect on and teach about her experiences and insights gained over a lifetime of work in that troubled country.”
Established in 2004, the Pantech Fellowship for Mid-Career Professionals, generously funded by Pantech Co., Ltd., and Curitel Communications, Inc. (known as the Pantech Group), is intended to cultivate a diverse international community of scholars and professionals committed to and capable of grappling with challenges posed by developments in Korea.