May 9th
Ambassador Kathleen Stephens
At Irvine Marriott Hotel

World Affairs Council of Orange County

In partnership with

Friends of Korea


Ambassador Kathleen Stephens
Acting Under Secretary of State for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs and former U.S. Ambassador to South Korea

"Korea’s Modern Journey: An American Ambassador’s Reflections"

Entertainment will be provided during the reception by Dong-Suk Kim and his group playing Korean Folk and Court music on traditional instruments

Special Introduction Irvine Mayor Steven Choi

The Korean War ended in armistice, not permanent peace, in July 1953, with a hardened division between competing regimes in south and north, both devastated by war. South Korea’s journey over the past 60 years, its economic rise accompanied by the development of a thriving democracy, has given it unprecedented global and regional weight. The U.S.-South Korea alliance, which marks its 60th anniversary this year, is broader and deeper than ever, as our two countries cooperate in an ever wider range of regional and global issues. In contrast, the policies of the North Korean leadership have led not only to economic failure and enormous suffering in North Korea, but its pursuing nuclear weapons and missile programs have continued to threaten and destabilize Northeast Asia and beyond.

Kathleen Stephens, who as a Peace Corps volunteer in Korea in the 1970s, an embassy officer covering Korea’s democratization in the 1980s, and as American Ambassador to Korea from 2008 to 2011 witnessed firsthand Korea’s journey, will discuss the U.S. role in Korea’s extraordinary modern journey, the state of relations today, and the challenges we face.

Date: Thursday, May 9, 2013

Location: Irvine Marriott Hotel
18000 Von Karman Ave., Irvine, CA 92612

Self-Parking: $5.00 per car

6:00 p.m. Reception * 7:00 p.m. Dinner * 7:45 p.m. Program

Members @ $55 Non-members @ $70 Students @ $40
Table of 10 – Members $550


Kathleen Stephens is a U.S. Foreign Service officer with the rank of Career Minister. She is currently a Senior Associate at the Institute for the Study of Diplomacy at Georgetown University.

Ambassador Stephens was Acting Under Secretary of State for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs, February to April 2012. She was U.S. Ambassador to the Republic of Korea, 2008 to 2011.

Since joining the Foreign Service in 1978, Ambassador Stephens has served in numerous posts in Washington, Asia, and Europe. From 2005 to 2007 she was Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for the Bureau of East Asian and Pacific Affairs (EAP). She was Deputy Assistant Secretary of State in the Bureau of European and Eurasian Affairs (EUR) from 2003 to 2005, focused on post-conflict and stabilization issues in the Balkans. Other Washington assignments included Director for European Affairs at the National Security Council during the Clinton Administration, Senior United Kingdom Country Officer in the European Bureau, and Director of the State Department’s Office of Ecology and Terrestrial Conservation in the Bureau of Oceans, Environment and Scientific Affairs.

Ambassador Stephens’ overseas postings have included Deputy Chief of Mission at the U.S. Embassy in Lisbon, Portugal (1998-2001), and U.S. Consul General in Belfast, Northern Ireland (1995-1998) during the consolidation of ceasefires and negotiation of the Good Friday Agreement. Earlier foreign assignments included consular and public affairs officer in Guangzhou, China (1980-1982), chief of the internal political unit in Seoul (1984-1987), principal officer of the U.S. Consulate in Busan, Korea (1987-1989), and political officer in the former Yugoslavia, 1991-1992.

Ambassador Stephens has received numerous State Department awards and in 2009 received the Presidential Meritorious Service Award. In 2010 she was named the Department of State’s Linguist of the Year, and also received the Korean YWCA’s Korea Women’s Leadership “Special Prize” Award. In 2011 she received the Pacific Century Institute’s Building Bridges Award, the Outstanding Achievement Award from the American Chamber of Commerce in Korea, and the Kwanghwa Medal of Diplomatic Merit from the Korean government. The Korean-language book “Reflections of an American Ambassador to Korea,” based on her blog essays, was published in 2010.

Ambassador Stephens was born in El Paso, Texas and grew up in Arizona. She holds a BA (Honors) in East Asian studies from Prescott College, a master’s degree from Harvard University, and honorary doctoral degrees from Chungnam National University and the University of Maryland. Ambassador Stephens studied at the University of Hong Kong and was an instructor at the Outward Bound School of Hong Kong, 1972-1973. She was a Peace Corps volunteer in Korea from 1975 to 1977. She has one son, a robotics engineer working in Boston.