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New endowed professorship at Maxwell School underscores commitment to the Korean peninsula

July 10, 2009

Jill Leonhardt
(315) 443-5492

Dean Mitchel Wallerstein has announced the establishment of a new, endowed professorship in the Maxwell School to promote research on issues related to the Korean Peninsula and its eventual reunification. The first occupant of the Donald P. and Margaret Curry Gregg Professorship will be professor of political science and international relations Stuart J. Thorson.

"The Maxwell School is honored to be the recipient of a generous gift from a prominent Korean-American businessman to endow a position in honor of Ambassador Donald P. Gregg and his wife, Margaret Curry Gregg," says Wallerstein. "Ambassador Gregg has had a distinguished career in government and diplomacy, and he has made significant contributions to U.S.-Korean relations and to the advancement of peace and security on the Korean Peninsula. Particularly at this time of political tension in that part of the world, it is fitting that the Maxwell School should establish a position that is dedicated to scholarly research and active engagement on the future of the Korean Peninsula and its role in Northeast Asian security."

Donald Gregg served as U.S. Ambassador to Korea from 1989-1993. During that time, his efforts were directed toward helping the U.S.-Korea relationship mature from a military alliance into an economic and political partnership. He was also active in support of U.S.-Korea business activities. Prior to his diplomatic service in Korea, Gregg was a member of the National Security Council staff; in 1982, he became National Security Advisory to (then) Vice President George H.W. Bush. From 1951-1975, Gregg was with the Central Intelligence Agency and worked in Japan, Burma, Vietnam and Korea.

"Meg and I are deeply honored to be so strongly affiliated with this important new professorship," says Ambassador Gregg, chairman of the Korea Society. "For far too long, the Korean Peninsula has been underrepresented in the curricula of America's leading universities. This is a major step in the right direction, and will keep Syracuse in the forefront of Korean studies."

Stuart Thorson is professor of international relations and political science. His work focuses on the uses of information technology, particularly in support of governance and diplomacy. Thorson directs the Syracuse University integrated information technology research collaboration with Kim Chaek University of Technology (DPRK), and he is co-director of the Regional Scholars and Leaders Seminar initiative. He is a founding member of the National Committee on North Korea (U.S.) and a co-founder of the U.S.-DPRK Scientific Engagement Consortium. Thorson has co-authored two books on conflict resolution and more than 40 articles and book chapters in the areas of foreign policy, decision-making, computer modeling and democratic theory. He has advised domestic and international universities, corporations and governmental units on uses of information and communications technologies to enhance organizational effectiveness, governance and distance collaborations.

According to Wallerstein, "Professor Thorson has worked tirelessly and successfully over the past decade to develop a trusted, scholarly relationship with academic colleagues at Kim Chaek University in the Democratic People's Republic of Korea. His efforts have enabled Syracuse University to develop the only successful, ongoing academic relationship in the United States with counterparts in North Korea. The Maxwell School is fortunate to have Stuart Thorson as a member of its faculty, and I am delighted to announce his appointment as the first Ambassador Donald P. Gregg and Margaret Curry Gregg Professor of Korean Affairs."

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