Kim Namseok, Munhwa Ilbo Correspondent
News Type

This article originally appeared in the Korean daily newspaper Munhwa Ilbo on January 2, 2023. It was translated from Korean by Raymond Ha.

In an exclusive interview for the Munhwa Ilbo, Stanford University professors Gi-Wook Shin and Francis Fukuyama had a conversation on a wide range of topics including the war in Ukraine, U.S.-China competition, and North Korea policy.

The world faces a crisis of political leadership as each country pursues its own interests. Fukuyama stressed the importance of robust international institutions, instead of relying solely on great leaders. He pointed to NATO and the U.S.-Korea alliance as examples of institutions that uphold the liberal international order. In terms of the U.S.-China competition, he said without hesitation that “a democracy like Korea…has to make the decision that it is going to be on the side of democracy.” Fukuyama also noted that in the event of an armed confrontation over Taiwan, Korea would almost certainly be pulled in, given the significant U.S. military presence there. He was skeptical about prospects for progress over North Korea, pointing to the long history of failed negotiations and the lack of viable alternatives. “Not every problem has a solution,” he said.

Gi-Wook Shin, who led the interview, observed that the global decline of democracy appears to have hit a turning point, “although it’s too early to say if there will be a rapid recovery…or a more gradual shift.” As for the state of democracy in the United States, he said, “We will have to wait and see what happens in the 2024 presidential election.” Even though Trump’s political influence may be weaker, he observed, “pro-Trump forces are still part of the system.” In terms of Korea’s foreign policy, Shin emphasized that Seoul “should take [the Taiwan] problem much more seriously.” A crisis in the Taiwan Strait “could become the biggest challenge for the Yoon administration’s foreign policy, not North Korea,” and domestic polarization over China policy is one issue that could threaten to “become extremely controversial.”

The interview was held in-person for one hour at Stanford on December 8, 2022, with a follow-up interview held over the phone on December 27.  

[Gi-Wook Shin] Let’s start by looking back on 2022. How would you summarize this year?

[Francis Fukuyama] I think 2022 was a very good year, where we may have bottomed out in this global move away from democracy and toward authoritarian government. The year really started out in February with the Russian invasion of Ukraine, which looked very, very threatening. China was on a roll. It looked like they were beating everybody in terms of COVID policy. Then, by the end of the year, the Russians got completely bogged down. China experienced mass protests, and there were protests also in Iran. In America’s elections on November 8, all the pro-Trump forces failed to make gains and, in fact, lost almost everywhere. I think that maybe we will look back on 2022 as the year when this democratic recession that has been going on for over 15 years finally bottomed out.

[GWS] I agree, although it’s too early to say if there will be a rapid recovery toward democracy or a more gradual shift. In the United States, we will have to wait and see what happens in the 2024 presidential election. Former President Trump may be weaker politically, but pro-Trump forces are still part of the system. As for the Ukraine war, many people thought Russia would win quite easily, but now it looks like they are struggling. It’s a big question, of course, but how do you think the war will be remembered in history?

[FF] I think that it is going to be remembered as one of the biggest strategic mistakes made by a great-power leader in a very long time. I think that the mistake is directly due to the nature of the political system. You remember that Vladimir Putin was sitting at the end of this 25-foot table with his defense minister because he was so afraid of COVID. He was extremely isolated during the whole pandemic, and he had already isolated himself in a political system where he doesn’t face checks and balances. That kind of decision-making system makes you prone to make even bigger mistakes, because you don’t have other people to test your ideas against. He was completely uninformed about the degree to which Ukraine had developed a separate national identity and that the Ukrainian people were willing to fight for it. He didn’t have any idea how incompetent his own army was. If he had been in a more democratic country that required him to share power with other people, I don’t think he could have made that kind of mistake.


The most important thing is the breakdown of the Chinese economic model. For the past decade, the Chinese model has been to pump a huge amount of money into the real estate sector. That model is collapsing. The other big problem is that they don’t have economic growth anymore.
Francis Fukuyama

[GWS] Putin is struggling, as you said. There are a lot of problems in China, but Xi Jinping secured a third term. Authoritarian leaders elsewhere still hold power. By contrast, I don’t think President Biden has shown powerful leadership at home or globally. I don’t see any strong political leaders in the U.K., France, or Germany either.

[FF] I think that although Xi Jinping may succeed in stabilizing the situation in China with the protests over COVID in the short run, he is in a lot of trouble. He was creating all this social instability with the zero-COVID policy. Now that they’ve started to relax it, I think the number of cases and deaths is going to go up very dramatically, but I don’t think they’ve got much of a choice. I think this has probably damaged the people’s sense of Xi’s authority and legitimacy, and I’m not sure he can recover from that.

The most important thing is the breakdown of the Chinese economic model. For the past decade, the Chinese model has been to pump a huge amount of money into the real estate sector. That model is collapsing. The other big problem is that they don’t have economic growth anymore. Some economists think that they’re actually in a recession, with negative growth. This is like what Japan went through in the 1990s. So much of the Chinese government’s legitimacy has been based on having extremely high growth rates, and that period is over. I don’t see how they get it back, and they certainly won’t by inserting the state into every economic decision and controlling their high-tech sector. Their population is shrinking now. I’m not sure that Xi Jinping, in the longer run, is actually going to look like a very effective leader.

[GWS] But in the short term, say the next three to five years, won’t authoritarian leaders be powerful in comparison? Just as “America First” shows, some say there is a crisis of political leadership among Western democracies, including the United States, the United Kingdom, France, and Germany.

[FF] I think that apart from President Zelenskyy in Ukraine, we don’t see any really inspiring leaders in Germany or France or the United States. On the other hand, the nice thing about democracy is that it’s an institutional system for managing change. Biden has turned 80, and Trump himself is in his upper 70s. The leadership in Congress and the Democratic Party are all elderly, but they’re all about to change. In the next election cycle, there is going to be a whole new generation of people that are up-and-coming. I don’t think you need a charismatic leader with great vision, necessarily, to run any of the countries you mentioned.

[GWS] Another question is if the United States can provide global leadership. When Trump was defeated, there was a strong expectation for the Biden administration to restore global order and to do much better than its predecessor. I’m not sure whether that’s happening.

[FF] Again, I think that’s why you want to have international institutions rather than being dependent simply on leaders. This gives an institutional basis for continuity in policy. There are all of these alliance structures, like NATO. People thought that NATO was obsolete and was going to go away. It has actually proved to be very durable. The United States has security ties with Korea and Japan that also are quite old, but they’re still durable. It’s interesting that the authoritarian countries have not been able to create anything comparable to that set of alliances. There is the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO), but all the Central Asian states don’t want to be part of this China-Russia dominated organization. We can’t just depend on great leadership.

Korea should proactively participate in upholding and creating an international order that facilitates a resurgence of democracy. Korea has not really played this role before, but with the 10th largest economy in the world, it is now in a position to play a positive role.
Gi-Wook Shin

[GWS] To add on to that, I think Korea should proactively participate in upholding and creating an international order that facilitates a resurgence of democracy. Korea has not really played this role before, but with the 10th largest economy in the world, it is now in a position to play a positive role.

[FF] There is a set of values that underpin America’s alliances, both in Asia and Europe. Throughout the whole Cold War, the Soviet Union never actually invaded a Western democracy, but that’s what Russia did. NATO has suddenly become very relevant once more. I think that both in Korea and Japan, there is also recognition of a comparable challenge from an authoritarian China. Unless all democracies work together and show solidarity with one another, they could be picked off by these two authoritarian powers.

[GWS] There is a lot of debate about whether China is going to invade Taiwan or not. I have a two-part question. First, could the situation in Ukraine reduce the possibility of China invading Taiwan? Second, if China still invades nevertheless, what should Korea do? This is a difficult question for Korea. It cannot say no to the United States as a military ally, but at the same time, it cannot antagonize China. I think this is the most difficult question for Korea at the moment.

[FF] This is a difficult question for the United States because it’s not clear that Congress or the American people actually want to go to war with China in order to save Taiwan. I think if you ask them a polling question stated like that, probably a majority would say, “No, we’re not going to send our troops to die.” But I think it’s likely that the United States will get dragged into such a conflict one way or the other. Among other things, the Chinese would probably have to preempt some of the American forces that are in the theater. American military personnel will get killed as the Chinese attack unfolds, and I think there will be a lot of political pressure to help Taiwan.

[GWS] How much can the United States be involved? Some in Korea are skeptical that Washington will step in.

[FF] This is really the problem. During the Cold War, we had a good idea of what a war would like look like if it actually happened. The military planning was very concretely designed against certain types of escalation. With China, we don’t have a clear set of expectations for what escalation would look like. It could just start with a Chinese invasion. It could start with a blockade. It could start with something in the South China Sea. It could actually start on the Korean Peninsula, with North Korea doing something. If it happens, it’s going to be much more devastating than the war in Ukraine. So much of global production comes out of Asia, and there’s a strong incentive not to let things get out of hand. Whether we have the wisdom to do that is not clear. I also think that people’s expectations and opinions will change once the conflict begins. The moment people see cities being bombed, they will change their minds.

Francis Fukuyama conversing in Gi-Wook Shin's office at Stanford University.
Francis Fukuyama. Kim Namseok/Munhwa Ilbo

[GWS] I also think that a conflict over Taiwan would affect the American people more directly than what is happening in Ukraine. What’s your view on how seriously Korea should be taking this possibility?

[FF] It is likely enough that it is absolutely important for everyone to take it seriously and plan against it. What you want to do is deter China from taking any military action against Taiwan. They’re not going to be deterred unless they see that there’s a response on the other side that is going to raise the cost for them. That’s not going to happen unless people take the scenarios seriously and start thinking about concrete ways that they could help Taiwan or stymie any kind of Chinese attack. I think it is very important for Korea to think this through and think about ways they could support Taiwan and be part of a larger alliance that can push back against China.

[GWS] I keep telling my friends and colleagues in Korea that they should take this problem much more seriously. Taiwan could become the biggest challenge for the Yoon administration’s foreign policy, not North Korea. China policy has become an extremely divisive partisan issue in South Korea, and it could tear the country apart. What advice would you have for President Yoon?

[FF] There’s two things. First is the rhetorical position. Korea should make its position clear in advance that it would oppose Chinese military action and would support the United States, for example. Korea is going to get dragged into this because so much U.S. military equipment is in Korea, and that is going to be moved in closer to the theater. I think making that position clear in advance is important.

The other thing that’s been very clear from the Ukraine war is that democracies are not prepared for an extended conflict. Everybody is running out of ammunition in Europe and the United States is running low on certain types of ammunition. The Ukrainians have used so much of it just in the 10 months they have been fighting. I think that any high-intensity conflict in East Asia is also going to be very costly in terms of supplies. South Korea is in a better position than other countries because it has been preparing for a North Korean attack for decades. Everybody needs to be prepared for an extended conflict. It may not be over in 48 hours.

[GWS] Koreans are quite nervously watching the ongoing escalation of tensions between the United States and China. In the past, the paradigm was “United States for security, China for the economy” (an-mi-gyeong-joong). Now, security and the economy are linked together. The Yoon government is promoting the strengthening of the alliance with the United States, but South Korea faces the fundamental problem of how to position itself as U.S.-China tensions escalate. Do you have any wisdom for Korea?

[FF] I don’t know if it’s wisdom, but I think Korea needs to take a clearer position. Under the previous government, there was a belief that Korea could somehow be halfway between China and the United States. That’s just not a tenable position. The tension between the United States and China has really been driven by China ever since 2013, when Xi Jinping took power. China has become a much more severe dictatorship internally, and it has become much more aggressive externally. You see the influence of the Belt and Road Initiative and the militarization of the South China Sea. In the last 10 or 15 years, China has been picking fights with India, Japan, Korea, and all of Southeast Asia over territorial issues. They built the size of their military much more rapidly than any other great power in that period of time. As a result, the United States and other countries have simply reacted to this. I think that a democracy like Korea cannot pretend that it is somehow in between the United States and China. It has to make the decision that it is going to be on the side of democracy.

[GWS] I agree that an-mi-gyeong-joong is now obsolete, but I think that South Korea must be more sophisticated in its response. As they say, the devil is in the details. On the economy, Seoul can actively work with Washington on areas closely related to security, but it can still partner with Beijing on sectors that are not. There can be a fine-tuned policy.

I now want to ask about North Korea and U.S. policy. I have been saying that the Biden administration policy is one of “strategic neglect,” not the “strategic patience” of the Obama administration. Kim Jong-un keeps testing missiles and provoking, and South Koreans are puzzled by the lack of response from Washington. Why is that? Is it because all the attention is on Ukraine and China?

[FF] Not every problem has a solution, and I don’t think this problem has a solution. You could use diplomacy. You could use military force. You could use deterrence. There are a limited number of possible approaches, and I think none of them are going to work. There has been a long history of negotiation. That has not worked. I think confrontation is not going to work. I think preemption is certainly not going to work. I just don’t think there’s a good solution, so we’ve ended up with trying to ignore the problem by default. Part of the reason North Korea is launching all of these missiles is that they want people to pay attention to them. Ignoring the problem is not much of a solution either, but it’s not as if there is a better solution.

[GWS] I agree with you that for many people in government, North Korea has been a hot potato. You don’t want to touch it because there is no clear solution, and it won’t help your career. But if we just ignore the problem, then five years later it’s going to be worse. What kind of North Korea are we going to face in five or ten years?

[FF] Everybody has been hoping that something would happen internally. It’s fine to think that, but it’s also not taking place. That said, Kim Jong-un is obese and unhealthy. Who knows what might happen?

We've had four elections now where [Trump] was playing a major role in the Republican Party. In three of those elections, he really hurt his own party. He can stir up a third of the electorate that loves him, but it’s never enough to win an election, especially in a swing state.
Francis Fukuyama

[GWS] Let’s now turn to domestic politics here in the United States. I think many Americans were relieved by what happened in the midterm elections last month. Trump’s influence was much more limited than what people thought. But he’s still there, and he’s likely to run again. I think he is still a strong candidate for the Republicans.

[FF] He declared his candidacy, but I think that he is declining very rapidly in influence. We have had four elections now where he was playing a major role in the Republican Party. In three of those elections, he really hurt his own party. He can stir up a third of the electorate that loves him, but it’s never enough to win an election, especially in a swing state. I think he’s gotten crazier in recent months. He is doing so many self-destructive things, having dinner with neo-Nazis and repeating all these conspiracy theories. These are things that no rational candidate would do. The Republicans are going to want somebody that can actually beat the Democrats, and I don’t think it’s going to be him.

[GWS] You don’t expect a rematch between Biden and Trump in 2024?

[FF] This gets into a technical issue, but the Republican primaries are mostly winner-take-all primaries. Any candidate that can get 30% of the vote is likely to be nominated. If you have a Republican field that has several people competing, they may split the alternative vote and Trump may end up winning. I think he still has a good chance of being the Republican nominee. If you’re a Democrat, that’s not the worst thing in the world. It is probably easier to run against Trump than a more normal Republican candidate.

[GWS] Two years is still a long time in politics. You said that Trump is likely to be nominated. Would Biden also run again?

[FF] I think that Biden is going to run again. Part of the problem is in the Democratic Party. It’s not clear who the successor would be. There are a lot of potential new-generation politicians, but I don’t think any of them has enough presence and attention that they can clearly take over the mantle to run as the Democratic candidate. If there is a rematch, I think Biden will win.

[GWS] Now to South Korea. Last June, I did some interviews advocating a parliamentary system, and they received good attention. There is still a lot of hesitancy among Koreans, though. I think there are a few reasons. The first is that we need a strong presidential system to deal with North Korea. There’s no stability if the prime minister keeps changing. Second is that it may drive politicians closer to big business (chaebol) because there’s less direct accountability. What would you suggest for South Korea in terms of institutional reform?

[FF] There are several possibilities even short of a parliamentary system. You can coordinate the presidential and parliamentary terms. It’s still the case that the president has a five-year term, but the legislature is on an even-year term. If you want to have strong government, you need a president that has majority support in the legislature. If they get elected simultaneously on a regular basis, you’re more likely to see strong leadership emerge. In a presidential system, the legislature itself is a check against the president. If you don’t have a strong majority in the legislature, you can’t do anything.

[GWS] That is what is happening right now in Korea.

[FF] In a parliamentary system like the British one, if you have a majority in parliament, you can do what you want. I think the presumption that somehow a presidential system is inevitably stronger than a parliamentary system is not historically correct.

[GWS] Is a parliamentary system maybe one solution to political polarization?

[FF] Sometimes a parliamentary system will have that effect, but the kind of plurality voting system that we have in the United States and in Britain tends to promote polarization. To the extent that you make it possible for third parties to run, that’s probably a better system. If you have more parties and it becomes harder to get a majority in the legislature, that forces coalitions and some degree of power sharing.

Francis Fukuyama 2022

Francis Fukuyama

Olivier Nomellini Senior Fellow at the Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies, Director of the Ford Dorsey Master’s in International Policy, and Professor by Courtesy, Department of Political Science
Full Biography
Gi-Wook Shin

Gi-Wook Shin

Senior Fellow at the Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies, Professor of Sociology, William J. Perry Professor of Contemporary Korea, Director of the Shorenstein Asia-Pacific Research Center, and Director of the Korea Program
Full Biography

Read More

All News button

A Conversation with Francis Fukuyama on the Challenges of a Changing Global Order

CDDRL Postdoctoral Scholar, 2019-20

I am a scholar of comparative politics and currently a postdoctoral fellow at the University of Pennsylvania’s Center for the Study of Contemporary China. My research is on authoritarianism and corruption control with a regional focus on East Asia—especially China, the Koreas, and Taiwan. My first book, Corruption Control in Authoritarian Regimes: Lessons from East Asia (Cambridge University Press, 2022), is about why some autocrats are motivated to curb corruption, why their efforts succeed or fail, and what the political consequences of such efforts are. I received my Ph.D. in Government from Harvard University in 2019.

My writing has been published or is forthcoming in numerous academic and policy journals, including Perspectives on Politics, Government and Opposition, the Journal of Democracy, Politics and Society, the Journal of Contemporary China, the Journal of East Asian Studies, Foreign Affairs, Foreign Policy, the China Leadership Monitor, and The National Interest.

Before academia, I lived and traveled in East Asia for several years, learning Chinese and Korean along the way. I worked for The Wall Street Journal Asia in Hong Kong, taught English in Xinjiang, and studied Korean in Seoul. I received my B.A. (summa cum laude), also from Harvard, in Social Studies and East Asian Studies.

News Type

"If the threat posed by North Korea’s nuclear weapons were easy to solve, the problem would have been solved long ago. In addressing the threat from North Korea, a very real threat in which the North Korean’s could develop ICBMs that could deliver nuclear weapons to the American mainland, the United States must confront two very difficult challenges," explains Stephen Krasner in the Lawfare. Read the whole article here

Hero Image
All News button
News Type

The Center on Democracy, Development, and the Rule of Law (CDDRL) at Stanford University is pleased to announce the 2015 class of undergraduate senior honors students. 

Honors students will spend four quarters participating in research seminars to refine their proposed thesis topic, while working in consultation with a CDDRL faculty advisor to supervise their project. In September, the group will travel to Washington, D.C. for honors college where they will visit leading government and development organizations to witness policymaking in practice and consult with key decision-makers.

Please join CDDRL in congratulating the 2015 Senior Honors students and welcoming them to the Center.

Below are profiles of the nine honors students highlighting their academic interests, why they applied to CDDRL, and some fun facts.  


Monica Dey

Major: Human Biology

Hometown: Nashville, TN

Thesis Title: Evaluating Information and Communication Technologies for Reproductive and Sexual Health in Uganda

Thesis Advisor: Josh Cohen

Why is this topic important to the field of democracy, development, and the rule of law? Sexual and reproductive health is a significant problem all over the world, but especially in developing countries.  In Uganda, which has some of the highest fertility and highest maternal mortality rates in the world, investment and improvement in sexual and reproductive health could have enormous consequences for economic development, education equality, and public health.  In addition, with the boom in mobile technology in even rural regions, it is essential that civil society organizations and local governments discover the most effective methods to apply this technology to the toughest problems in sexual and reproductive health.  I hope to evaluate the pitfalls and potential of these mobile interventions, as well as recommend best practices for the field.

What attracted you to the CDDRL undergrad honors program?  I love the interdisciplinary environment of the CDDRL, whose professors hail from departments all over the university.  I believe it is essential to approach development issues from a multitude of perspectives, and this philosophy is ingrained into the values of the CDDRL.  I am so honored to be able to learn from this community of scholars who care deeply about working together to create real impact with their research.

Future aspiration post-Stanford: I will continue working on international development issues after graduation, as well as attend medical school after taking a gap year (or two).

What are your summer research plans: I will be interviewing a cross-section of Ugandan society (public officials, organizational leaders, local people, and more) both remotely and hopefully in the field.

Fun fact about yourself: I went kayaking for the first time on the Nile River last summer!

Selamile Dlamini

Major: Management Science & Engineering

Hometown: Ezulwini, Swaziland

Thesis Title: Political Participation in Swaziland  

Thesis Advisors: Larry Diamond & Joel Samoff

Why is this topic important to the field of democracy, development, and the rule of law? Political science presents several theories about how and why democratization occurs. Despite the democratic transitions that occured in sub-Saharan Africa during the post-colonial period, Swaziland has remained largely politically unchanged. My thesis will present Swaziland's interaction with the theories proposed in of political science, and demonstrate the extent to which events in Swaziland fit into these theories. Moreover, it will show the extent to which Swaziland differs, and presents additional nuance to the theories and models discussed in the field of democracy, development and the rule of law. This is particularly important in sub-Saharan Africa, where the presence and quality of democracy has been shown to be closely correlated to the development outcomes. 

What attracted you to the CDDRL undergrad honors program?  I am inspired by the fact that it is an interdisciplinary program, therefore, I can explore a single subject through multiple lenses.

Future aspiration post-Stanford: Eat, pray, love, and make a positive impact in the world.

What are your summer research plans: I will get started with the readings on my thesis reading list in June, and go to Swaziland to conduct some interviews in August.

Fun fact about yourself: I love writing fiction!

Max Johnson

Major: International Relations

Hometown: Edina, Minnesota

Thesis Title: The Economic and Political Scenarios for Cuban Regime Change and their Policy Implications 

Thesis Advisor: Alberto Diaz-Cayeros

Why is this topic important to the field of democracy, development, and the rule of law? Cuba is one of the last staunch political strongholds resisting what many say is an inevitable fall to democracy. I believe understanding how this transition might take place will reveal a lot about democratic development and the formation of free markets. 

What attracted you to the CDDRL undergrad honors program?  I visited Cuba in 2011 and fell in love with the landscape and culture. The Cuban people are so beautiful and eager to live fruitfully and contribute to global society. I want to use my thesis to explore the multiple political perspectives of Cubans in Miami and Havana and try to predict how their lives will change with the end of the Castro regime. 

Future aspiration post-Stanford: Find a fulfilling career that has an international perspective and will allow me to impact the lives of others in a positive way. And live in New York City. 

What are your summer research plans: I will be interning at the Project on Government Oversight in Washington D.C. where I'll be learning about corruption and transparency advocacy. I will also spend part of August in Miami interviewing Cuban-American activists and political leaders. 

Fun fact about yourself: I was a vegetarian my entire life until last summer when I lived in Port au-Prince, Haiti and was compelled to eat chicken. One thing lead to another and I found myself studying abroad in Madrid eating plates of freshly cured jamon Iberico every week. Needless to say, I've tasted the forbidden fruit, and I'm never going back! 

Hamin Kim

Major: Human Biology

Hometown: San Jose, CA

Thesis Title: Tuberculosis Control in the Democratic People's Republic of Korea

Thesis Advisor: Gary Schoolnik

Why is this topic important to the field of democracy, development, and the rule of law?  Public health is important to the development and well-being of the local, regional, and global society. Management of infectious diseases also requires much coordination between the existing infrastructure and internal, as well as external resources. My research project on tuberculosis control investigates the process of building a control program for a widespread infectious disease. It illuminates the areas of need for development in the infrastructure and society of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, as well as the constraints and challenges in delivering the aid. Examining the management of a public health issue opens up a unique platform to investigate and aid the development of a reclusive nation. 

What attracted you to the CDDRL undergrad honors program?   The CDDRL undergraduate honors program offers the network and support of experts. I was attracted by the multifaceted focus on global issues, and was excited to examine development when democracy and the rule of law may not be manifested in the form that we expect. The required courses and readings would broaden my perspectives about the way that the world functions. Moreover, the expert guidance from professors would help me to apply these new insights to my research topic. The interdisciplinary group of colleagues who would participate in the program with me also attracted me. This is a unique opportunity to learn about global issues through lenses of different expertise and focus. 

Future aspiration post-Stanford: My Stanford education has prepared me to engage people, culture, and issues with curiosity and critical examination. As a Human Biology major with an area of concentration in Global Health, I have been exposed to various issues which affect the health of many people around the world. After Stanford, I wish to become a physician with a global perspective who cares for patients in the context of their whole persons—their cultural, as well as personal, beliefs. I also hope to be involved in global health policy development and public health management in foreign countries. 

What are your summer research plans: I will conduct individual interviews with various health experts and gather information through file and literature reviews. 

Fun fact about yourself: Something I appreciate about college is that it has developed many new interests which I never knew I had. After joining Testimony A Cappella, I changed from not wanting to sing even in front of my family to breaking out in song and harmonizing whenever and wherever. I have recently revived my love of social dance and hope to pursue this further in my last year at Stanford!

Stefan Norgaard

Major: Public Policy

Hometown:  Boulder, Colorado

Thesis Title: The “Born Free Generation” and the Future of South African Democracy: Shaping a Transition to Accountable Governance

Thesis Advisor: Larry Diamond

Why is this topic important to the field of democracy, development, and the rule of law?  In South Africa today, around 40 percent of the population is under 18 years and fully half of its people are under 25. These young South Africans have grown up in a fully different South Africa than that of their parents: apartheid rule, once a harsh reality, is now a past event even as racial divisions persist, and many youth only know the rule of the African National Congress (ANC) party, which has governed since Nelson Mandela’s 1994 election.  This “born free” generation has witnessed the fragile democratic system created by Mandela cave under increasingly stressed institutions during the Mbeki and Zuma presidencies. As young South Africans turn to new methods to make their voices heard, the upcoming 2014 elections may mark the beginning of a period of political realignment, a sounding call for accountable, issue-based governance. In this election, over 4 million of South Africa’s 50 million people will be eligible to vote for the first time, and they are increasingly frustrated about the lack of efficacy in South Africa’s government. A youth population that chooses not to engage through democratic channels may fail to reinvigorate a struggling nation. On the other hand, a population that translates its electoral significance into new government policies can help ignite a long-term political realignment in South African civil society.   

What attracted you to the CDDRL undergrad honors program?  The CDDRL Honors Program offers superb faculty support and mentorship, a cohort of like-minded students pursuing similar thesis topics, and an interdisciplinary framework that allows for a capstone intellectual experience.  I heard from previous CDDRL Honors Program participants that Professor Larry Diamond, Professor Frank Fukuyama, and numerous other CDDRL-affiliated faculty support and mentor students, challenging them to produce the best theses they can.  In addition, the thesis coursework and Honors College experience allow for students to make close friendships with others interested in democracy, development, and the rule of law.  Finally, CDDRL’s interdisciplinary component will allow me to write a thesis on South Africa using historical accounts, ethnographic interviews, and quantitative survey data.  Using all three research methods will give me the type of comprehensive intellectual experience I was looking for in my thesis.  

Future aspiration post-Stanford:  Though I am not sure what my future will hold, I hope to spend time working internationally, ideally in public service.  I am drawn to social entrepreneurship, civic and political engagement through government service or advocacy, and the nonprofit and nongovernmental sector.  I love seeing new places and spending time in the outdoors, and hope that my future allows for such experiences as well.  As I learn more about myself as an individual, I hope to discover where I am most effective as an agent of social change and where I feel most passionately about the work I am doing.  I hope to ultimately attend law school and advocate on behalf of the public interest.    

What are your summer research plans: I plan to conduct research in Johannesburg and Bloemfontein, South Africa for my thesis while I work and stay at an urban planning and development nonprofit—the Global Regeneration Initiative for Neighborhood Development (GRIND)—in Johannesburg’s Maboneng Precinct. In my work I will apply coursework in Public Policy and Urban Studies with the larger goal of planning and developing a diverse and integrated urban neighborhood in Johannesburg.  A second portion of my summer will be solely dedicated to thesis work in Johannesburg and Bloemfontein.  

Fun fact about yourself: A Colorado native, I love climbing and mountaineering.  Of the continental United State’s 67 tallest 14,000 foot mountains (also known as “14ers”), I have climbed over 20 of them, and hope to one day climb them all!  

Cara Reichard

Major: Political Science

Hometown: Carlsbad, CA

Thesis Title: Regional Solutions for Human Rights in Sub-Saharan Africa

Thesis Advisor: Helen Stacy

Why is this topic important to the field of democracy, development, and the rule of law? Many sub-Saharan African nations have, since independence, struggled with the protection of the human rights of their citizens. I believe this topic is important because it will, hopefully, offer perspective on ways in which human rights promotion can best be integrated into the current political and economic situations of these countries.

What attracted you to the CDDRL undergrad honors program? Since freshman year I knew that I wanted to write a senior thesis, and CDDRL seemed by far the best fit for my interests. I was also attracted by the idea of being a part of a community of students who also cared about these issues and were eager to answer research questions of their own. 

Future aspiration post-Stanford: I am still very undecided on my future goals, though I am strongly considering law school. After I graduate from Stanford I hope to spend a few years working in Washington, D.C. on something policy-related.

What are your summer research plans: For the first part of the summer I will be in Washington, D.C. working at the U.S. Department of State, Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor. After that, I will travel to Arusha, Tanzania, to conduct research for my thesis on the East African Court of Justice.

Ashley Semanskee

Major:  Human Biology

Hometown: Edmonds, WA

Thesis Title: Private Wealth and Public Policy: Philanthropy, democracy, and public education reform in urban school districts

Thesis Advisor: Stephen Stedman

Why is this topic important to the field of democracy, development, and the rule of law? It is important to understand the role of philanthropy and other private actors in public policy debates, particularly in the realm of public education policy because it affects almost every child in the United States. Although philanthropic foundations may be important to drive education reform forward in a stagnant and torpid political process, the political influence of foundations may shut out the contributions of reformers without the wealth to legitimize their ideas, and it may undercut the public’s voice in education reform. Specifically, the school reform movement in recent decades has largely been driven by philanthropic foundations and .has pushed for market-based solutions including small schools, school choice, charter schools, and pay-for-performance schemes for teachers. However, opponents point out that market-based reforms do little to mediate the effect of poverty on education outcomes. Through this thesis, I will explore the education outcomes of opposing reform paradigms, and how philanthropic foundations can be held more accountable to local communities. 

What attracted you to the CDDRL undergrad honors program? I was attracted to the CDDRL honors program because I want to learn about issues that matter, study the policy debates that are shaping our world and, above all, perform research with real policy implications. I am incredibly grateful for the opportunity work with faculty members and a cohort of like-minded Stanford students as enthusiastic about democracy and development as I am. 

Future aspiration post-Stanford: After graduation, I hope to pursue my joint interests in health and education policy, and eventually apply to a MPH/MBA program. 

What are your summer research plans: I will conduct interviews and data collection on the outcomes of public school reform in the Washington DC and New York City school districts. 

Fun fact about yourself:  Like Garima, I am a twin. I have a sister, Casey, studying business at the University of Washington. 

Garima Sharma

Major: Economics

Hometown: New Delhi, India

Thesis Title: Factors Shaping Parent Aspirations for Daughters in small-town Indian communities

Thesis Advisor: Christine Wotipka

Why is this topic important to the field of democracy, development, and the rule of law? India is home to 24 million child brides—the largest of any country in the world. The early marriage of a girl represents a trade-off in terms of her education, health and wellbeing. When compared with her overage counterparts, a child bride is twice as likely to suffer from spousal domestic violence, 2.5 times more likely to experience unwanted pregnancies, and 1.5 times more likely to die in child birth; her children are 3 times more likely to be malnourished. Because parents’ decisions for their daughter necessarily follow their aspirations on her behalf, understanding the latter is the first step to formulating policy and programs that alter incentives for encouraging female enrolment in school and delaying child marriage. I hope that my thesis is able to create new knowledge on parental aspirations in pursuit of this goal.

What attracted you to the CDDRL undergrad honors program?  I am drawn towards the interdisciplinary nature of the CDDRL program because it is well suited for my thesis, which employs a mixed methods design and draws from literature in development economics as well as feminist theory. Incorporating various lenses for analysis will enable me to glean a more holistic understanding of factors that shape parent aspirations (for daughters) than would a purely economic or purely feminist approach. Additionally, I believe that the support provided through the year-long CDDRL Honors Seminar will be invaluable in terms of the design and execution of my field research and data analysis. Finally, I am excited by the prospect of working with a community of scholars (both Professors and peers) who come from many different academic backgrounds and interests, and will, through their insight on my proposed topic, enrich my learning as well as my research.

Future aspiration post-Stanford:  I hope to leverage policy to advance women’s rights in India and across the world. 

What are your summer research plans: For the first part of the summer, I will be working as a Stanford in Government Fellow at the International Labour Organization DWT South Asia office in Delhi. I will then travel to Forbesganj, Bihar to conduct field research for my thesis.

Fun fact about yourself: I am one of two. I have a twin sister, named Anima, who attends medical school in India.

Thuy Tran

Major: Economics

Hometown: San Diego, California

Thesis Title: What´s in it for us? The Incentives and Strategic Decisions by For-Profit Firms to Engage in Social Impact Initiatives.

Thesis Advisor: Stephen Krasner

Why is this topic important to the field of democracy, development, and the rule of law? Consumers these days are eager to take part in social change and large corporations have lately made this very easy for consumers; companies like TOMS Shoes that base their business models on charitable giving, as well as companies that attach social causes to their products, are very popular among citizens interested in being "charitable". Obviously, these companies have motivations for participating in social change movements and this recent phenomenon of "corporate social responsibility" shows how corporations are adapting to changing societal preferences. But whether these initiatives are effective is another issue and it is crucial that these companies are not doing more harm than good. Understanding the incentives for firms to engage in social impact is the first step to assessing the level of success of these programs.

What attracted you to the CDDRL undergrad honors program?  I was drawn to the CDDRL undergraduate honors program because of the possibility to establish strong relationships with my fellow honors students and faculty in the CDDRL. The program offers a chance for students to closely interact with each other during the honors thesis process and I am sure that we will all be able to teach each other something new. I am also very excited to work closely with the CDDRL faculty and for the opportunity to pick their brains! 

Future aspiration post-Stanford: I would love a career that allows me to combine my technical and artistic interests, that makes me excited to go to work, and that allows me learn new things everyday! 

What are your summer research plans:  I plan on doing extensive research into particular industries that engage in social impact projects, namely consumer brands and also companies that have built their business models on charitable giving. Hopefully I will also have a chance to interview decision makers at these companies as well to better understand the true incentives and thought processes behind corporate social responsibility tactics. 

Fun fact about yourself: When I was younger, I used to hate the first day of school because none of my teachers knew how to pronounce my name! 


Shawn Tuteja

Major: Mathematics

Hometown: Birmingham, Alabama

Thesis Title: Rethinking the Institutional Design of Deliberative Democracy through an Analysis of the Impact of the Moderator 

Thesis Advisor: James Fishkin

Why is this topic important to the field of democracy, development, and the rule of law? When deliberative democracy is implemented, it usually takes the form of members of society gathering to debate key issues. Moderators usually facilitate these discussions, and the key assumption is that the moderators do not influence the people's final opinions. I argue that there is a great amount of statistical analysis that has not been done to verify this assumption. If the moderator does contribute to people's opinions, it may mean that we should rethink the institutional design of these processes. 

What attracted you to the CDDRL undergrad honors program?  I have ben interested in issues of international affairs and democracy since I was in high school, and I wanted the opportunity to explore these passions in an honors thesis. The CDDRL undergraduate honors program provided the perfect opportunity. 

Future aspiration post-Stanford:  I hope to continue studying and learning skills (such as the ones that I will hone in working on this honors thesis) to better society through whatever job I eventually decide on.   

What are your summer research plans:  I will work to test the mass amounts of data that I will be working with. This includes designing a coding system, running statistical analysis, and analyzing the results. 

Fun fact about yourself: I once starred in a PBS TV show on the benefits of recycling. Oh, and I'm a huge fan of the TV show Friday Night Lights.


Hero Image
All News button

The road to the 18th Party Congress was contentious, leading to its delayed convocation. Nevertheless, the processes of generational turnover in China’s leadership at the Chinese Communist Party’s 18th National Congress extended patterns of formal politics that trace their roots to Deng Xiaoping’s political reforms of the 1980s, that advanced in the Jiang Zemin era in the 1990s, and that matured under outgoing General Secretary Hu Jintao in the 2000s.  As such, the transition in the party leadership at the 18th Congress marked another step forward in the institutionalization of Chinese leadership politics.


Alice Lyman Miller is a research fellow at the Hoover Institution and teaches in the Departments of History and Political Science at Stanford. She is also a senior lecturer in the Department of National Security Affairs at the U.S. Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey, California.

Prior to coming to Stanford in 1999, Miller taught at the School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS) at Johns Hopkins University in Washington, D.C. from 1980–2000. From 1974–90, Miller worked in the Central Intelligence Agency as a senior analyst in Chinese foreign policy and domestic politics, and branch and division chief, supervising analysis on China, North Korea, Indochina, and Soviet policy in East Asia. Miller has lived and worked in Taiwan, Japan, and the PRC, and she speaks Mandarin Chinese.

Miller's research focuses on foreign policy and domestic politics issues in China and on the international relations of East Asia. She is editor and contributor to the Hoover Institution’s China Leadership Monitor, which has since 2001 offered online authoritative assessments of trends in Chinese leadership politics to American policymakers and the general public. Miller has published extensively on policy issues dealing with China, including several articles and book chapters, as well as two books: Science and Dissent in Post-Mao China: The Politics of Knowledge (University of Washington Press, 1996), and, with Richard Wich, Becoming Asia: Change and Continuity in Asian International Relations Since World War II (Stanford University Press, 2011). She is currently working on a new book, tentatively entitled The Evolution of Chinese Grand Strategy, 1550–Present, that brings a historical perspective to bear on China's rise in the contemporary international order.

Miller graduated from Princeton University in 1966, receiving a B.A. in Oriental Studies. She earned an M.A. and a Ph.D. in history from George Washington University in 1969 and 1974.  Formerly H. Lyman Miller, she transitioned in 2006.

Philippines Conference Room

Alice Miller Research Fellow Speaker Hoover Institution

This two day conference will examine the use of information and communication technologies (ICTs) to expand freedom and generate more pluralistic flows of ideas and information in authoritarian contexts. Through presentation of papers and panel sessions, three key themes will be explored:

  • How individuals in authoritarian countries are using liberation technologies (particularly the internet and mobile phones) to expand pluralism and freedom.
  • How authoritarian states are censoring, constraining, monitoring, and punishing the use of ICT for that purpose.
  • How citizens and groups can circumvent authoritarian censorship and control of these technologies.

Discussion will focus on these challenges generally and also specific developments in countries such as China, Iran, Cuba, Burma, and North Korea, as well as Russia and selected Arab authoritarian regimes.

The conference is sponsored by the Program on Liberation Technology at the Center on Democracy, Development and the Rule of Law at Stanford, in cooperation with the Hoover Institution.

Bechtel Conference Center


Mass famines, like those of the 1990s that killed a million people, are projected to happen again in North Korea. At any time, more than 220,000 people are held in the prison system, where "torture, assault, rape, infanticides, forced detention and public executions" are commonplace. The state medical system is in severe disrepair, allowing treatable diseases like tuberculosis to claim tens of thousands of lives per year. Unfortunately, North Korea's political and economic isolation often impedes those interested in reducing the hardships endured by the North Korean people. In "The North Korean Crisis: Human Stories and Taking Action," four experts on North Korea will discuss the North Korean humanitarian crisis and importantly, outline ways for members of the Stanford community and beyond to take action.

Presented by the Stanford Korean Students Association and sponsored by ASSU Speaker's Bureau, Korean Student Association at Stanford, Korean Studies Program, CDDRL, Steve Kahing

Bechtel Conference Center

Dr. Sharon Perry Senior researcher at the Division of Infectious Diseases and Geographic Medicine Speaker Stanford and North Korean
Jung Gwang Il Director of NK Gulag for Democracy Speaker A Seoul based-NGO
David Hawk Former Executive Director of Amnesty International USA Speaker
Dan Chung Communications Director of Crossing Borders Speaker

Stephan Haggard is the Lawrence and Sallye Krause Distinguished Professor at the Graduate School of International Relations and Pacific Studies (IR/PS) at the University of California, San Diego (UCSD). He is the author of Pathways from the Periphery: the Political Economy of Growth in the Newly Industrializing Countries (1990) and The Political Economy of the Asian Financial Crisis (2000) and co-author of The Political Economy of Democratic Transitions (1995 with Robert Kaufman), Famine in North Korea: Markets, Aid and Reform (with Marcus Noland, 2007) and Development, Democracy and Welfare States: Latin America, East Asia and Eastern Europe (with Robert Kaufman, 2008). He is currently working on a second volume on North Korea with Marcus Noland entitled North Korea Opens and a project on Robert Kaufman on inequality and politics.

His scholarly articles have appeared in International Organization, World Politics, Comparative Politics, The Journal of Asian Studies, Latin American Research Review, Comparative Political Studies, World Development, Studies in Comparative International Development and The Journal of Democracy. His commentary has appeared in a number of outlets, including The Washington Post, International Herald Tribune, and Newsweek.

Encina Ground Floor Conference Room

Stephan Haggard Lawrence and Sallye Krause Distinguished Professor at the Graduate School of International Relations and Pacific Studies (IR/PS) Speaker University of California, San Diego (UCSD)
Subscribe to North Korea