Katharina Zellweger, 2011–12 Pantech Fellow, joins the Korean Studies Program after five years of living in Pyongyang where she has served as the North Korea country director for the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC). Through her SDC and earlier work, she has witnessed modest economic and social changes not visible to most North Korea observers. Her research at the Walter H. Shorenstein Asia-Pacific Research Center will draw on her over 15 years of humanitarian work in North Korea and explore how aid intervention can stimulate positive sustainable change there.
While heading SDC’s Pyongyang office, Zellweger focused on sustainable agricultural production and income generation projects. She is well versed in observing and reporting on political, social, and economic trends and developments.
Prior to joining the SDC, Zellweger worked for nearly 30 years at the Caritas Internationalis office in Hong Kong, the center of its international activities. She organized and led aid and development projects related to North Korea for 10 years there. Her work included collaborating with the media to generate national and international awareness about North Korean humanitarian issues.
Zellweger holds an MA in international administration from the School of International Training in Brattleboro, Vermont, and a Swiss diploma in trade, commerce, and business administration. She also apprenticed with Switzerland’s national agricultural management program.
In 2006, the Vatican named Zellweger as a Dame of St. Gregory the Great, and in 2005 South Korea’s Tji Hak-soon Justice and Peace Foundation honored her with its annual award. She is an active member of the International Women’s Forum and of the Kadoorie Charitable Trust.
Established in 2004, the Pantech Fellowship for Mid-Career Professionals, generously funded by Pantech Co., Ltd., and Curitel Communications, Inc. (known as the Pantech Group), is intended to cultivate a diverse international community of scholars and professionals committed to and capable of grappling with challenges posed by developments in Korea.