Victor Cha

Senior Fellow
George W. Bush Institute

As Senior Fellow, Freedom and Democracy, Dr. Victor D. Cha is helping lead an initiative on the problem of human rights in North Korea. He is Distinguished University Professor, D.S. Song-KF Chairholder, and Professor of Government at Georgetown University. He is also Senior Vice President for Asia and Korea Chair at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington, D.C.

He is the author of seven books, including the award-winning Alignment Despite Antagonism: The United States-Korea-Japan Security Triangle (Stanford University Press, 1999) (winner of the 2000 Ohira Book Prize), and The Impossible State: North Korea, Past and Future (Harper Collins Ecco, 2012 selected by Foreign Affairs as a “Best Book on the Asia-Pacific for 2012.” His most recent book is Korea: A New History of South and North (Yale University Press, 2023) with Ramon Pacheco Pardo. His other books are Beyond the Final Score: The Politics of Sport in Asia (Columbia University Press, 2009); Nuclear North Korea: A Debate on Engagement Strategies (Columbia University Press, 2003) with David Kang; and Powerplay: The Origins of the American Alliance System in Asia (Princeton University Press, 2016). His forthcoming book is The Black Box: Methods and Data in the Study of Korean Unification and North Korea (Columbia University Press, 2024). His articles on international relations and Asian affairs have appeared in numerous journals including International Security, Political Science Quarterly, International Studies Quarterly, Armed Forces and Society, Foreign Affairs, Asian Survey, Journal of Asian Studies, International Journal of the History of Sport, and Journal of Strategic Studies.

He was appointed in 2021 by Joseph R. Biden administration to serve on the Defense Policy Board in an advisory role to the Secretary of Defense. He formerly served on the White House National Security Council where he was responsible primarily for Japan, the Korean peninsula, Australia/New Zealand and Pacific Island nation affairs. Dr. Cha was also the Deputy Head of Delegation for the United States at the Six Party Talks in Beijing, and received two Outstanding Service commendations during his tenure at the NSC.

Dr. Cha is a two-time Fulbright scholar, former Olin fellow at Harvard, and former Hoover, CISAC, and Koret fellow at Stanford. He currently serves on 10 editorial boards of academic journals and is coeditor of the Contemporary Asia book series at Columbia University Press. He serves on the board of the National Endowment for Democracy and is a Foreign Affairs Contributor for MSNBC and NBC News.

In 2023, he was named Distinguished University Professor, the highest honor bestowed upon a tenured faculty member at Georgetown. He is the recipient of the 2023 Hubert H. Humphrey award from the American Political Science Association for notable public service by a political scientist and the 2023 Joseph Kurzel Memorial Prize for excellence in scholarship and public service (also from APSA).

Dr. Cha received his PhD, MIA and BA degree from Columbia University and a BA Honors from Oxford University.

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Read the article Ambassador Shin-wha Lee -- North Korea, Denuclearization, and Human Rights.
Jun 21, 2023

Ambassador Shin-wha Lee -- North Korea, Denuclearization, and Human Rights

Hosted by: Andrew Kaufmann, Victor Cha
Ambassador Shin-wha Lee serves as South Korea’s ambassador for international cooperation on North Korean human rights. In her role, she coordinates international efforts to improve human rights conditions in North Korea and raise global awareness about the inhumane conditions faced by North Koreans.
Read the article North Korea: Denuclearization Is Not Possible Without an Improvement in Human Rights.
Jan 14, 2021

North Korea: Denuclearization Is Not Possible Without an Improvement in Human Rights

By: Victor Cha, Lindsay Lloyd
As the last four years have shown us, a deal with North Korea is not possible without an improvement in the human condition. In the past, the United States prioritized nuclear negotiations above all else. A new administration and Congress have an opportunity to refocus their attention on human rights in North Korea.