Sigur Center for Asian Studies


Professor Benjamin Hopkins, pictured in professional attire

Benjamin D. Hopkins is a historian of modern South Asia, specializing in the history of Afghanistan and British imperialism on the Indian subcontinent. He has authored, co-authored, and co-edited numerous books on the region, including The Making of Modern Afghanistan, Fragments of the Afghan Frontier, and Beyond Swat: History, Society and Economy along the Afghanistan-Pakistan Frontier. His new book, Ruling the Savage Periphery: Frontier Governance and the Making of the Modern State, presents a global history of how the limits of today’s state-based political order were organized in the late nineteenth century, with lasting effects to the present day. He is currently working on A Concise History of Afghanistan for Cambridge University Press, as well as a manuscript about the continuing war in Afghanistan provisionally entitled, The War that Destroyed America.

Professor Hopkins’ research has been funded by Trinity College, Cambridge, the Nuffield Foundation (UK), the British Academy, the American Institute of Iranian Studies, as well as the Leverhulme Trust. He has received fellowships from the Council on Foreign Relations, the National University of Singapore, the School for Advanced Research in Santa Fe, and the Woodrow Wilson Center for International Scholars in Washington DC. Writing for the public, Professor Hopkins has been featured in The New York Times, The National Interest, and the BBC. He regularly teaches courses on South Asian history, the geopolitics of South and Central Asia, as well as World history and the legacies of violence and memory in Asia. Professor Hopkins has directed the Sigur Center for Asian Studies since 2016.

1957 E Street, NW, Suite 503M
Tel: (202) 994-2822

Associate Director

Professor Deepa Ollapally, pictured in professional attire

Deepa Ollapally is a political scientist specializing in Indian foreign policy, India-China relations, and Asian regional and maritime security. She is Research Professor of International Affairs and the Associate Director of the Sigur Center. She also directs the Rising Powers Initiative, a major research program that tracks and analyzes foreign policy debates in aspiring powers of Asia and Eurasia.

Dr. Ollapally is currently working on a funded book, Big Power Competition for Influence in the Indian Ocean Region, which assesses the shifting patterns of geopolitical influence by major powers in the region since 2005 and the drivers of these changes. She is the author of five books including Worldviews of Aspiring Powers (Oxford, 2012) and The Politics of Extremism in South Asia (Cambridge, 2008). Her most recent books are two edited volumes, Energy Security in Asia and Eurasia (Routledge, 2017), and Nuclear Debates in Asia: The Role of Geopolitics and Domestic Processes (Rowman & Littlefield, 2016).

Dr. Ollapally has received grants from the Carnegie Corporation, MacArthur Foundation, Smith Richardson Foundation, Ford Foundation, the Rockefeller Foundation, and the Asia Foundation for projects related to India and Asia. Previously, she was Associate Professor at Swarthmore College and has been a Visiting Professor at Kings College, London and at Columbia University. Dr. Ollapally also held senior positions in the policy world including the US Institute of Peace, Washington DC and the National Institute of Advanced Studies, Bangalore, India. She is a frequent commentator in the media, including appearances on CNN, BBC, CBS, Reuters TV, and the Diane Rehm Show. She holds a Ph.D. in Political Science from Columbia University.

1957 E Street, NW, Suite 503I
Tel: (202) 994-8854

Manager, Research Programs

Miriam Grinberg, pictured in professional attire

Miriam Grinberg is the Manager of Research Programs for the Sigur Center for Asian Studies, GW Institute for Korean Studies, and the GW East Asia National Resource Center. Since graduating with a B.A. in Political Science from Gettysburg College in 2011, she has gone on to complete an M.A. in International Politics and East Asia and a Ph.D. in Politics and International Studies at the University of Warwick. Prior to joining Sigur and GWIKS, she worked as a communications assistant for the Politics, Sociology and Philosophy departments at Warwick, and has held visiting research fellow positions at American University, Waseda University in Tokyo, and the University of the Ryukyus in Okinawa.

1957 E Street, NW, Suite 503P
Tel: (202) 994-4360

Program Coordinator

Helen Jiang, pictured in professional attire

Helen Jiang is the Program Coordinator for the Sigur Center for Asian Studies. She holds a B.A. in International Affairs with a concentration in Asia and a minor in History from the George Washington University. Before returning to Washington, DC, she served in Sichuan province as a Peace Corps China University English Volunteer, and in New York as the External Relations and Development Program Assistant at Independent Diplomat and a children’s literacy volunteer at AmeriCorps’ Reading Partners. At GW, she was involved with Delta Phi Epsilon Professional Foreign Service Sorority, Pi Beta Phi Fraternity for Women, and WRGW District Radio, and she’s happy to give back to the Elliott School’s programming and academics. She has studied abroad in Malang, Indonesia as a recipient of the Department of State’s Critical Language Scholarship; Shanghai, China; Aix-en-Provence, France; and in Lausanne and Lugano, Switzerland.

1957 E Street, NW, Suite 503O
Tel: (202) 994-9735

East Asia National Resource Center

Principal Investigator

Jisoo Kim, pictured in professional attire

Jisoo M. Kim is Korea Foundation Associate Professor of History, International Affairs, and East Asian Languages and Literatures and Director of the Institute for Korean Studies at GW. She received her Ph.D. in Korean History from Columbia University. She is a specialist in gender and legal history of early modern Korea. Her broader research interests include gender and sexuality, crime and justice, forensic medicine, literary representations of the law, history of emotions, vernacular, and gender writing. She is the author of The Emotions of Justice: Gender, Status, and Legal Performance in Chosŏn Korea (University of Washington Press, 2015), which was awarded the 2017 James Palais Prize of the Association for Asian Studies. She is also the co-editor of The Great East Asian War and the Birth of the Korean Nation by JaHyun Kim Haboush (Columbia University Press, 2016). She is currently working on a new book project titled Suspicious Deaths: Forensic Medicine, Dead Bodies, and Criminal Justice in Chosŏn Korea.

1957 E Street, NW, Suite 503L
Tel: 202-994-6761

Program Associate

Richard haddock, pictured in professional attire

Richard J. Haddock is currently the Program Associate for the East Asia National Resource Center (NRC), which is supported by a Title VI grant from the U.S. Department of Education. In this role, Mr. Haddock is primarily responsible for East Asia learning content development, strategic planning and grant management, liaising with key community and educational stakeholders, and reporting to the Department of Education. He is also a member of the UC Berkeley U.S.-Taiwan Next Generation Working Group, where he is conducting a research project on the current state and future prospects of Taiwan Studies in the United States. He has held positions at the Sigur Center for Asian Studies, the National Democratic Institute’s Asia team, the American Institute in Taiwan’s Public Diplomacy Section, and the U.S. Department of State. Mr. Haddock is currently pursuing a Ph.D. in Public Policy and Public Administration at The George Washington University, focusing on digital democracy and e-governance development in the Asia-Pacific. He holds an M.A. in Asian Studies from the Elliott School, with a concentration on domestic politics and foreign policy of East Asia. He graduated from the University of Central Florida with a B.A. in Political Science and minors in Asian Studies and Diplomacy.  

1957 E Street, NW, Suite 503N
Tel: (202) 994-5874

Program Coordinator

Emir Bailey, pictured in professional attire

Emir Bailey is the Program Coordinator for the East Asia National Resource Center (NRC). He is a Howard University Alumnus with a Bachelor of Arts in Strategic Communications and minor in Japanese. During his time at Howard, he studied abroad in Japan at Kanda University of International Studies with IES Abroad. Currently, he is a graduate student at the Graduate School for Education and Human Development (GSEHD) pursuing his master’s degree in Higher Education Administration. Prior to joining the NRC, he has worked as a communications associate at GW’s School of Law and Medical School, and has interned for the United States-Japan Friendship Commission.

1957 E Street, NW, Suite 503N
Tel: (202) 994-0790

Asian Studies Program


Professor Greg Brazinsky, pictured in professional attire

Gregg A. Brazinsky is Professor of History and International Affairs and Deputy Director of GW Institute for Korean Studies. He is interested in the flow of commerce, ideas, and culture among Asian countries and across the Pacific. He is proficient in Mandarin Chinese and Korean. Professor Brazinsky is the author of two books: Winning the Third World (2017), which focuses on Sino-American Rivalry in the Third World, and Nation Building in South Korea (2007), which explores U.S.-South Korean relations during the Cold War. Currently he is working on two other book projects. The first examines American nation-building in Asia during the Cold War. The second explores Sino-North Korean relations between 1949 and 1992 and focuses specifically on the development of cultural and economic ties between the two countries. He has received numerous fellowships to support his research including the Kluge Fellowship from the Library of Congress, the Smith Richardson Foundation junior faculty fellowship, and a fellowship from the Woodrow Wilson Center. Professor Brazinsky also currently serves as the Director of the George Washington Cold War Group.

1957 E St. NW, Suite 503R
Tel: (202) 994-0987

Program Assistant

Ru Kim, pictured in professional attire

Ru Kim is the current Program Assistant for the Asian Studies Program at the Elliott School of International Affairs. She received a B.A. in International Studies and B.A. in Political Science from Indiana University in 2019, focusing on Asia-related issues, Political Theory, Campaigns, and Diplomacy. In addition to her work for the Asian Studies Program, Ru is a current graduate student at the Elliott School of International Affairs.

1957 E Street, NW, Suite 503
Tel: (202) 994-2694

Partnerships for International Strategies in Asia


Linda Yarr, pictured in professional attire

Linda J. Yarr joined the Elliott School as Director of Partnerships for International Strategies in Asia (PISA) in June 1996. She began her work for PISA in 1995, when PISA was located within the American Council for Learned Societies. PISA promotes international affairs education training and research in partnership with leading agencies and institutions in Asia. Ms. Yarr has secured foundation grants and private donations to underwrite all of PISA’s activities and designed its collaborative and path-breaking programs in Asia. In 1994-1995, Ms. Yarr taught a research course on conflict resolution at American University. From 1987 to 1994, she was assistant professor of global political economy at Friends World College (subsequently the Friends World Program of Long Island University). In addition to teaching global political economy and experiential education, Ms. Yarr guided students in active learning projects and designed a program in global women’s studies. From 1983 to 1987, she offered courses in comparative politics, development, gender, and the Vietnam War at the University of Colorado, Boulder, and the University of Denver.

Ms. Yarr has held visiting scholar appointments at the Helsinki Collegium for Advanced Studies, the Institute for Malaysian and International Studies of the National University of Malaysia, the School of International Service of American University, and the Rocky Mountain Women’s Institute.

1957 E Street, NW, Suite 503S
Tel: (202) 994-4313

China Policy Program


Professor David Shambaugh, pictured in professional attire

David Shambaugh joined the faculty at GW in 1996 as Director of the Sigur Center for Asian Studies and Professor of Political Science & International Affairs. In 2017 he was appointed to an endowed chair as Gaston Sigur Professor of Asian Studies, Political Science & international Affairs.

In 1998 he founded the China Policy Program. The China Policy Program was created to build upon the Elliott School’s longstanding expertise and involvement in U.S.-China relations and contemporary Chinese affairs and to serve primarily as an outreach program to the policy community in Washington, officials and China specialists around the world, the media, and the public. Highlights of CPP’s programming include sponsoring tailored briefings for Executive Branch officials, Congressional staff, and Members of Congress related to China and U.S.-China relations or for members of the corporate community on China; receiving and briefing visiting delegations from Asia, Europe, and the United States on issues related to China; and sponsoring media briefings, pegged to current and medium-term events in China and U.S.-China relations.

Professor Shambaugh has been selected for numerous awards and grants, including as a Senior Fulbright Scholar (at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences), Distinguished Research Professor at the Shanghai Academy of Social Sciences, and Distinguished Visiting Professor at the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies (RSIS) in Singapore, and other visiting appointments in Australia, China, Hong Kong, Italy, Japan, New Zealand, Singapore, and Russia. He has received research grants from the Ford Foundation, Rockefeller Foundation, Smith Richardson Foundation, Hinrich Foundation, German Marshall Fund, British Academy, and U.S. National Academy of Sciences.

Professor Shambaugh is an internationally recognized authority and award-winning author on contemporary China and the international relations of Asia. Formerly, He was a Nonresident Senior Fellow in the Foreign Policy Studies Program at The Brookings Institution, Director of the Asia Program at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, Board of Directors of the National Committee on U.S.-China Relations, and also worked in the U.S. Department of State and National Security Council. Before joining the GW faculty Professor Shambaugh was Lecturer, Senior Lecturer, and Reader in Chinese Politics at the University of London’s School of Oriental & African Studies (SOAS) from 1986-1996, where he also served as Editor of The China Quarterly. As an author, Professor Shambaugh has published more than 30 books, including most recently Where Great Powers Meet: America & China in Southeast Asia and China & the World (both 2020), China’s Future and The China Reader: Rising Power (both 2016). China’s Future was selected by The Economist first on the list of “Best Books of the Year.” He has also authored more than 20 reports, 200 scholarly articles and chapters, more than 150 newspaper op-eds, and more than 50 book reviews.

1957 E Street, NW, Suite 503G
Tel: (202) 994-5887

Tibet Governance Lab


Professor Tashi Rabgey, pictured in professional attire

Tashi Rabgey is Research Professor of International Affairs at the Elliott School where she directs the Research Initiative on Multination States (RIMS) and the Tibet Governance Lab (Tibet GovLab). The Tibet Governance Lab advances scholarship, research, and new perspectives on key issues of governance and public policy in contemporary Tibet. The program promotes research initiatives and program activities that produce fresh insights, analyses, and approaches to understanding the social, economic, and institutional challenges confronting the Tibetan region. Professor Rabgey’s primary research focuses on asymmetric governance, territoriality, and the problems of contemporary statehood in the People’s Republic of China. Her interdisciplinary work draws on the fields of political and legal anthropology, international legal theory, contemporary Tibetan studies, and comparative Chinese law.

Professor Rabgey led the development of the TGAP Forum, a research initiative that engaged policy researchers from the Chinese State Council in Beijing, as well as global academic partners, which developed new insights and strategies for developing research into the institutional structure and dynamics of China’s policymaking in Tibet. Her current writing projects include a long term political study of the Chinese state, as well as studies of territoriality, the rescaling of governance, the regionalization of public interests and demands in the People’s Republic of China. She is also completing a project on legal pluralism, nationality law and the effects of sovereignty in post-democratization Taiwan. She is a Visiting Professor at the University of Kurdistan Hewler where she teaches and supervises Ph.D. students. 

Before joining the Elliott School, Professor Rabgey was a faculty member of the University of Virginia East Asia Center where she was co-director of the University of Virginia Tibet Center. She held a lectureship in contemporary Tibetan studies and taught in comparative politics and global development studies. She is also co-founder of Machik, a nonprofit organization that has been developing strategies for creative development and social innovation in Tibet for over twenty years. She was also a Fellow in the Public Intellectuals Program of the National Committee on U.S.-China Relations from 2011-2013.

1957 E Street, NW, Suite 503G
Tel: (202) 994-7484

Taiwan Education and Research Program


LIana Chen, Director of the Taiwan Education and Research Program

Liana Chen is an Assistant Professor in the Department of East Asian Languages and Literatures and director of the Chinese Program and the Taiwan Education and Research Program. She is the author of Literati and Actors at Work: The Transformations of ‘Peony Pavilion’ on Page and on Stage in the Ming and Qing Dynasties. Her second book, Staging for the Emperors: A History of Qing Court Theatre, 1683-1923, which examines the ideological and aesthetical roles of the imperial court theatre of the Qing Dynasty, is forthcoming from Cambria Press in 2021. 

Professor Chen received her Ph.D. in Chinese Literature with a concentration in Chinese drama and theatre from Stanford University.  Her areas of teaching and research focus on Chinese drama and theatre, Chinese literature of the Ming and Qing dynasties, and Taiwanese literature and film. Liana Chen’s research has been supported by the Foundation for Development of Chinese Culture (Taiwan), The American Council of Learned Societies, and Sigur Center for Asian Studies at GW.

801 22nd Street, NW., Rm. 464
Tel: (202) 994-9277


Memory and Reconciliation in the Asia Pacific


Professor Mike Mochizuki, pictured in professional attire

Mike Mochizuki is Associate Professor of Political Science & International Affairs, Japan-U.S. Relations Chair in Memory of Gaston Sigur, Director of the Bachelor in International Affairs programs, and co-director of the Memory and Reconciliation in the Asia Pacific program. Professor Mochizuki was director of the Sigur Center for Asian Studies from 2001 to 2005. Previously, he was a Senior Fellow at the Brookings Institution. He was also Co-Director of the Center for Asia-Pacific Policy at RAND and has taught at the University of Southern California and Yale University.

Professor Mochizuki’s research interests include Japanese foreign policy and domestic politics, U.S.-Japan relations, and international relations in East Asia.

1957 E Street, NW, Suite 501I
Tel: (202) 994-7074


Daqing Yang, pictured in professional attire

Daqing Yang is Associate Professor of History & International Affairs. A native of China, Professor Yang graduated from Nanjing University and received his Ph.D. from Harvard University. He specialized in the history of modern Japan. His research interests include the Japanese empire, technological developments in modern Japan, and the legacies of World War II in East Asia.

In 2004, Professor Yang was appointed a Historical Consultant to The Nazi War Crimes and Japanese Imperial Government Records Interagency Working Group at the U.S. National Archives. In fall 2006, Professor Yang served as the Edwin O. Reischauer Visiting Professor of Japanese Studies at Harvard University.

Professor Yang is a founding co-director of the Memory and Reconciliation in the Asia Pacific program based in the Sigur Center for Asian Studies, and is currently working on a new project on postwar China-Japan reconciliation. He is the author of Technology of Empire: Telecommunications and Japanese Expansion in Asia, 1883-1945. He co-edited the following books: Historical Understanding that Transcend National Boundaries, which was published simultaneously in China and Japan; Rethinking Historical Injustice and Reconciliation in Northeast Asia; and Communications Under the Seas: The Evolving Cable Network and Its Implications.

1957 E Street, NW, Suite 503H: On sabbatical in 2021
Tel: (202) 994-8262

Staff Assistants

Graduate Research Assistant

Dennis Li, Graduate Research Assistant

Dennis Yuen Li is the graduate research assistant supporting Director Deepa Ollapally on the Rising Powers Initiative, a multi-year, cross-national research effort that examines the role of domestic identities and foreign policy debates of aspiring powers in Asia and Eurasia. He is a Ph.D. student studying Comparative Politics in the Political Science Department of Columbian College of Arts and Sciences. 


Research Staff Assistant

Yasmine Sadoudi, pictured in professional attire

Yasmine Sadoudi is a college sophomore in the Elliott School of International Affairs studying conflict resolution and security policy. She hails from San Diego, CA and is very excited to serve as a research assistant for the Sigur Center for Asian Studies. Prior to accepting this position, she served as an intern and Global Youth Ambassador for the International Rescue Committee, Secretary-General of Rotary International Model United Nations, and an assistant in the Elliott School Office of Graduate Admissions. She is very passionate about studying global security relations and worked closely with the Rising Powers Initiative and Partnerships for International Strategies in Asia in Fall 2019. 

Events Staff Assistant

Sarah Dunn, pictured in professional attire

Sarah Dunn is a sophomore at the Corcoran School of Art + Design studying Fine Arts and Art History. Sarah works as an Events Assistant for the Sigur Center of Asian Studies, where she provides logistical support and helps to run events such as panels, film screenings, and lecture series. She is excited to bring her years of experience developed from working at various galleries and museums to the Sigur Center of Asian Studies.

Communications Staff Assistant

Vinithra Sudhakar, pictured in professional attire

Vinithra Sudhakar is a first-year student at the Elliott School majoring in International Affairs, currently serving as project assistant at the Sigur Center. She is passionate about sustainable international development. Additionally, she is a student consultant with MZZ Ventures at G.W., co-programming director of the Hindu Students Association, and a member of the Elliott School’s co-ed honors society, Sigma Iota Rho.

Project Staff Assistant

Farzana Bakhitary,pictured in professional attire

Farzana Bakhtiary is a senior at the School of Business, studying Finance and Statistics. She serves as the Project Assistant II at the Sigur Center for Asian Studies. Prior to joining the Sigur Center, she worked as Business intelligence Associate with Ayco — a Goldman Sachs Company in New York where she supported machine learning and other automatic business analytics. Farzana grew up in Afghanistan and studied at the American University of Afghanistan. She is passionate about business and technology by using her strong software skills to simplify data and numbers to enable individuals and companies to make informed decisions!

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