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International Institute of Korean Studies

PhD Students



  • Doctoral students are welcomed as an integral part of the IKSU community and their research is valued and supported by IKSU academics.

Priscilla Kim 

Priscilla Kim

Priscilla Kim is researching the Track II diplomatic efforts between the United States and North Korea during the second North Korea nuclear crisis (2002-2008). Her focus on Track II diplomacy stems from her interest in official - or Track I diplomacy - that has occurred between the two states. Her research will focus on the New York Philharmonic's visit to North Korea and the efforts by the National Committee on American Foreign Policy (NCAFP). Priscilla received her B.A. and M.A. in East Asian Studies from the University of California, Los Angeles.

Yin-Xuan Peng

Yin-xuan Peng

Peng Yin-xuan is carrying out research on the ‘Sino-South Korean relationship: from Park Chung-hee to Park Geun-hye’. The main purpose is to investigate China's policy towards the Korean Peninsula; as a fundamental part of China's national interest with regard to security, economics and politics. The research focuses on China's diplomacy towards South Korea: from the ‘Non-Policy’ to the ‘Two-Koreas Policy’. The research provides an explanation of China's diplomatic thinking in respect to both the Korean Peninsula and the globalised world as China seeks a flexible cooperation system to realise the dream of 'socialist modernisation'. Ms. Peng graduated from the University of Central Lancashire with a degree of BA (Hons) International Business Communication and MA (Arts) Intercultural Business Communication in 2012 and 2014, respectively.

Gianluca Spezza 

Gianluca Spezza

Gianluca Spezza is investigating the role of UNICEF in education and development assistance to the DPRK between 1995 and 2012. His publications include a book chapter in the 2014 North Korea Atlas, edited by Dongwoo Yim and Rafel Luna, (Damdi, Seoul, 2014), and an article in the 2014 (VI) Wiener Beiträge zur Koreaforschung (Viennese Contributions to Korean Studies), published by the University of Vienna. Gianluca holds a MA in Humanities from the University of Torino, Italy and a MSc in Asian Studies from the University of Turku, Finland. He is a long time contributor to NK News and co-author, with Chris Barrett, of “Icons of Rhetoric”, a photo-literary project on North Korean media.