May 20, 2018

SECWAC Presents Expert Panel Today in Old Lyme to Discuss Future of Korea, Reservations Essential

Special Event Open to the Public to Hear Experts Discuss North Korea. Advance Reservations are a Must

The Southeast Connecticut World Affairs Council (SECWAC) has announced that The World Affairs Councils of America has selected SECWAC as one of only six councils nationwide to host The Future of Korea – 2017 panel.  This panel discussion comes at a pivotal time for both the USA and its long-term ally, the Republic of Korea.

Saber rattling by North Korea, administrative issues confronting Korea’s To-be-elected President, and possible trade issues will be key challenges facing South Korea.  This panel discussion to be followed by Q&A will be held at the Lyme Old Lyme Middle School on Tuesday, May 9, at 5:30 pm.

The three panelists represent independent organizations and could have differing  perspectives on the overriding issues.

  • Will Cobb is with the US Department of State and will discuss US/Korean relations under the Trump Administration and the Issues facing Korea’s newly elected President.
  • Jang Hyun Kim is with the Embassy of Republic of Korea in the United States; with a background in trade, Kim will discuss ongoing  trade relations with the US, and Korean medical delivery advances.
  • Mark Tokola is with the Korea Economic Institute of America.  He’ll share his views on ongoing threats from North Korea and challenges facing the new South Korean administration.

This special event is open to the general public but reservations are required. Call 860-912-5718 or email to reserve a seat.  The panel discussion takes place at 5:30 pm, Tuesday, May 9, at the Lyme Old Lyme Middle School, and will be preceded by a 5 p.m. reception.

The moderator for the discussion will be Andreas (Andy) Mink, a SECWAC Director and journalist. More information on the panelists, who are all experts on Korea, follows:

Will Cobb is the Chief of the Republic of Korea (ROK) Office in the Office of Korean Affairs at the US Department of State.  Prior to taking this assignment, Mr. Cobb served as the Special Assistant to the Secretary of State John Kerry.  His overseas assignments include Mexico (2008-2010), Nicaragua (2010-2012), and Colombia (2013-2015).  In addition, his Washington assignments have included Watch Officer at the Operations Center.  Mr. Cobb has also spent 7 years as a business consultant with Deloitte and Booz Allen Hamilton.  He attended the US Coast Guard Academy, and obtained an MBA degree at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Jang Hyun Kim is a Counselor at the Embassy of the Republic of Korea in the United States.  Prior to that, he was Counselor at the Embassy of the Republic of Korea in Egypt, and Director in the Multilateral Trade Cooperation Division at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade, ROK; he has also served in the North American and European Union Division at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade.  He holds a BA degree in Anthropology from Seoul National University

Mark Tokola is Vice President of the Korea Economic Institute of America in Washington, DC.  He retired as a US Foreign Service Officer in 2014 with the rank of Minister-Counselor, his last post being at the US Embassy in London.  Previously he had served as Deputy Chief of Mission at the American Embassies in Republic of Korea, Mongolia, and Iceland.  Among his other postings were two tours at the US Mission to the European Union in Brussels, the US Embassy in London and The Hague.  He also served as Director of the Iraq Transition Assistance Office in Baghdad in 2007-2008.  He received the State Department’s Superior Honor Award for his work on implementing the Dayton Peace Accord while serving as political Counselor in Sarajevo, Bosnia-Herzegovia, from 1997 to 1999.  Mr. Tokola holds a BA in International Relations from Pomona College, Claremont, CA, and an LLM in European Community Law from the University of Edinburgh, Scotland.

The Future of Korea 2017 presentation is a special event complementing the SECWAC Speaker Series and is offered in partnership with the Chamber of Commerce of Eastern Connecticut

SECWAC is a regional, nonprofit, membership organization affiliated with the World Affairs Councils of America.  Its mission is to foster an understanding of issues related to foreign policy and international affairs through study, debate and educational programming.  Through its annual Speaker Series, SECWAC arranges up to 10 presentations a year that provide a public forum for dialogue between its members and experts on foreign relations.  Membership information is available at


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