Stockholm Korea Center

A geopolitical hotspot. A dynamic democracy. A divided nation. A leading economy. A cultural exporter. Understanding and engaging with Korea in the 21st century is relevant for the world beyond the clichés.

The Stockholm Korea Center is a component of the Institute for Security and Development Policy (ISDP), an independent research institution and think tank supported by the Korea Foundation. The Korea Center provides expert knowledge on Korea affairs and acts as a platform designed to promote cross-cultural understanding and cooperation.

The Center’s work is anchored in ISDP’s fundamental commitment to fostering dialogue as the primary means to achieve enduring peace among conflicting parties. Recognizing that productive dialogue requires attentive and empathetic listening to the needs, interests, and proposals of all parties involved, the Center positions itself as a non-partisan and impartial hub for generating knowledge and advancing dialogue initiatives. However, cognizant of the current geopolitical landscape characterized by the emerging New Cold War dynamics and the prominent liberal-authoritarian divide, the Center will conduct comprehensive explorations of inter-Korean and Northeast Asian relations. These examinations will encompass various perspectives, ranging from traditional hard security analyses to non-traditional security considerations, as well as extending to inter-regional relations involving the Nordics, the EU, and broader global issues such as gender equality, development, climate change, and the transition to green economies.

Research and Analysis

ISDP’s experts, consisting of staff and an extensive network of associated fellows, engage in a wide range of research projects. Results of this work are disseminated in a range of publications, including ISDP’s in-house formats, as well as also being made available to the public via seminars, workshops, and comments in the media.

The Center’s research aims to promote knowledge, awareness, and debate on topical Korea-related issues. In issuing practical and accessible research and analysis to a broad audience, it also aspires to inform the policy and public debate.

The Center’s work focuses primarily on 4 thematic areas:

Northeast Asia Regional Security Matters: In the last two decades, the Northeast Asia region has come to the fore on the international stage. The growing Sino-American competition, Korea’s fluctuating relations with Japan, North Korea’s nuclear and missiles programs, South Korea’s increasing focus on defense and military spending, and Russia’s looming presence, entail a constant muddling of the security environment throughout the region.

North-South Relations: Focusing predominantly on the contemporary relationship between North and South Korea, while also delving into the history of inter-Korean interactions, the Center covers not only political and security issues, but also explores economic, development and aid-focused endeavors.

EU-Nordic-Korea: Given the increasing prominence of both South Korea and the Nordic countries as leaders in sustainability, as well as the European Union’s initiatives to drive change towards a greener and more sustainable future, the Center will undertake research to evaluate and offer policy recommendations aimed at advancing development and enhancing collaboration across key areas of interest, particularly focusing on the green transition.

Gender and Development: ISDP emphasizes the critical importance of promoting gender equality and advancing the Women, Peace, and Security Agenda, recognizing their significant impact on development assistance and initiatives in today’s global environment. Through its endeavors, the Center aims to broaden the understanding of gender-focused research and policy beyond its traditional focus on the “Global North” by highlighting the contributions of East Asian nations, particularly South Korea, to this vital subject matter.

Guest Researchers Program

The Korea Center operates a Guest Researchers Program, offering a platform for visiting researchers from both Koreas to participate in research, training, networking, and collaborative activities on topics of mutual interest. During their time in Stockholm, Guest Researchers will collaborate on a publication addressing a current Korea-related issue, which will subsequently be disseminated in one of ISDP’s publication formats. Furthermore, all Guest Researchers are encouraged to showcase their work, insights, and research findings through private lectures and public seminars. The Center facilitates opportunities for Guest Researchers to engage with the Swedish and European academic and policy communities, thereby fostering cross-cultural understanding and facilitating knowledge exchange.

International Delegations

The Center regularly invites delegations from ISDP’s partners in Asia to come to Stockholm for seminars, and staff members visit partners in Asia. In addition, the Center’s staff participate in international seminars, conferences and events. Drawing on ISDP’s extensive local network, all visiting delegates have the opportunity to meet with influential figures from the government, academic, and private sectors in Sweden as well as other European countries.

The Korea Center’s Newsletters

Keep up-to-date on the latest news from global news sources with the Korea Center’s weekly Korea Peninsula newsletter. Find the most recent informed analysis from prominent think tanks and catch announcements straight from North Korean media.

Additionally, we have a monthly newsletter containing messages from our Center Head, Maj. Gen. Mats Engman and expert analyses of timely topics. You can register for this newsletter by registering to ISDP’s monthly newsletter.

The Center would like to acknowledge the generous support of the Korea Foundation.

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