Asia Programs

Asia Programs
Asia Programs
Asia Programs
Asia Programs
Asia Programs
Asia Programs
Asia Programs
Asia Programs
Asia Programs

Professor Vikram Nehru moderates a distinguished panel discussing how Southeast Asian economies have fared in the twenty years since the Asian Financial Crisis.

First Year students visit the US Capitol for a tour and roundtable discussion.

Students, faculty, and staff celebrate the graduates of 2017!

Students tour the sites on a 2017 trip to India and China.

September 2018 Policy Luncheon with Susan Thornton, Acting Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific Affairs

Students tour the eight gates of the fortress wall in Seoul, South Korea.

Students, faculty, and staff celebrate the graduates of 2018!

Jim Loi, COO & Partner at The Asia Group, speaks with students at a SAIS Asia Programs round table in April 2018

Students presenting their research at the 2018 SAIS Asia Conference

Program Activities
Academic Year 2018-2019
Past Events
Events Calendar
Our Alumni

The Asia Programs at Johns Hopkins SAIS provide students with an interdisciplinary approach to understanding the economic, political, and social trends shaping Asia in the 21st century. With comprehensive program curricula, distinguished faculty, professional opportunities, and complementary program activities, students concentrating in an Asia Programs discipline are prepared for careers in an ever-changing, complex region of the world. Students concentrate in Japan StudiesKorea StudiesSouth Asia Studies or Southeast Asia Studies, and may elect to complement their studies by adding several courses to attain a specialization in the International Relations of Asia or Emerging Markets

These four programs are well-recognized for applying theoretical propositions on development, strategy, and conflict resolution to real circumstances in the Asia region and in US-Asia relations. Please see specific program pages for information about core curricula and requirements. 

Japan Mt. Fuji SakuraThe Japan Studies Program gives students in-depth knowledge of the many facets of Japan, including Japanese history, politics, society, and foreign policy. It provides students with an interdisciplinary understanding of Japan through coursework, events, research opportunities, class trips, internships, and collaboration with the Edwin O. Reischauer Center for East Asian Studies at Johns Hopkins SAIS. The curriculum helps prepare students for careers in business, government, research, and other fields.

Korea Changdeok PalaceThe Korea Studies Program offers a unique interdisciplinary education covering South Korea’s modern domestic politics, economics, history, its foreign policy relations with the United States and neighboring Asian nations, and the strategic environment that the two Koreas face in regional and global contexts.

South Asia Sri LankaThe South Asia Studies Program provides a foundation for understanding the dynamic economic, political, and security trends in India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Afghanistan, and the wider Indian Ocean region. Courses address South Asia’s growing economic and strategic importance as well as its political history, complex social structures, and development challenges. With opportunities for the study of Hindi, Urdu, and Farsi, and support for summer internship placements, concentrators are well positioned for careers in the private sector, development, research, and government.

Southeast Asia Myanmar Burma BaganThe Southeast Asia Studies Program provides an interdisciplinary approach to understanding the nations, states, institutions, and peoples of Southeast Asia. The Southeast Asia Studies Program offers a rigorous, policy-oriented curriculum, language training in Burmese, Indonesian, Thai and Vietnamese, advice and support on internship opportunities in Washington and the Southeast Asia region, Washington-based fora that examine domestic politics and international relations of Southeast Asian countries, and an unsurpassed global alumni network.

Show More


  • Devesh
    Starr Foundation Professor of South Asian Studies and Director of Asia Programs
    Washington, D.C.
  • Kent
    Vice Dean for Faculty Affairs and International Research Cooperation, Director of the Edwin O. Reischauer Center for East Asian Studies
    Washington, D.C.
  • Sharon
    Associate Director, Asia Programs
    Washington, D.C.
  • Joshua
    Associate Professor of the Practice of South Asia Studies, Fellow, Edwin O. Reischauer Center for East Asia Studies
    Washington, D.C.
  • Alicia
    Adjunct Professor
    Washington, D.C.
  • Gary
    Adjunct Professor
    Washington, D.C.



Asia Programs manages the academics and programming of Japan Studies, Korea Studies, South Asia Studies, and Southeast Asia Studies Programs. For these programs' curricula, please refer to their Curriculum pages:

Japan Studies Curriculum
Korea Studies Curriculum
South Asia Studies Curriculum
Southeast Asia Studies Curriculum

Asia Programs also manages the specialization in Asia International Relations (AsiaIR), which offers students a way to focus on Asia as a whole and on the international relationships and trends that are increasingly knitting the region together. In AsiaIR, students will take courses on region-wide subjects while also meeting the course and language requirements of one of the five Asian regional concentrations. Students specializing in AsiaIR are encouraged to participate in the annual Student Asia Conference. If you are interested in specializing in AsiaIR, please contact and

Program Activities

The Asia Programs offers a variety of extracurricular and professional activities that enhance the student experience. These activities include:
  • A monthly Asia Programs Policy Luncheon series, featuring regional experts and policymakers
  • Career Coffee Chats with Asia Programs alumni and DC-based professionals
  • Getaway Days, visits to Capitol Hill, the State Department, and other policy making agencies and organizations
  • Conferences and events, partnering with DC-based policy organizations like the Asia Society
  • The annual Johns Hopkins SAIS AsiaIR Conference, a research-based conference led by Asia Programs and China Studies PhD and MA students
  • Social and networking opportunities with students, faculty, alumni, and policy officials, and other DC-area Asian Studies graduate programs

Each individual program - Japan Studies, Korea Studies, South Asia Studies, and Southeast Asia Studies - provides opportunities for students to get involved in both on- and off-campus activities. These include:

  • Advising on graduate internships in Washington and the Asia region
  • Financial support for summer internships, subject to availability
  • Study trips abroad
  • Research assistant opportunities
  • Special faculty-led roundtables and conferences

In addition, there are six Asia-focused student clubs at Johns Hopkins SAIS, including:

  • Japan Club
  • Korea Club
  • Chai Club
  • Thai Club
  • Indonesia Corner
  • Southeast Asia League of Students

We also distribute 2-3 newsletters per academic year. For copies of our past newsletters, see:

Academic Year 2018-2019
PDF iconNovember 2018 Newsletter

Academic Year 2018-2019

November Policy Luncheon with Changyong Rhee, Director of the Asia and Pacific Department at the International Monetary Fund
SAIS Asia Programs hosted Changyong Rhee, the Director of the Asia Pacific Department at the IMF, for our November policy luncheon discussion. Dr. Rhee oversees the IMF’s lending operations as well as bilateral and multilateral surveillance of economies such as China, Japan, India, and the Pacific Islands. He shared his insights on some of the drivers of long term growth in Asia. In particular, Dr. Rhee highlighted the impact of trade tensions and digital technology on short and long term growth as well as employment outcomes.
South Asia Studies: Lecture by Professor Amit Ahuja, University of California Santa Barbara
On November 14, SAIS Asia Programs welcomed Professor Amit Ahuja, Professor of Political Science at UC-Santa Barbara. He shared his research on the role of family ties in bolstering insurgencies and the ways in which these ties can lead to vulnerabilities that can be exploited by counterinsurgents.

October Policy Luncheon with Singapore Ambassador Ashok Mirpuri
SAIS Asia Programs hosted Ashok Mirpuri, Singapore’s Ambassador to the United States, for our October policy luncheon discussion. Ambassador Mirpuri gave an informative lecture on the emerging political and economic dynamics in East Asia and the challenges facing ASEAN. Students asked about issues ranging from cyber technology, extremism and non-traditional security threats, to the impact of Chinese diaspora in the Southeast Asia region.

Korea Studies: Discussion with Professor Zhihua Shen, East China Normal University 
On October 4, SAIS Asia Programs welcomed Professor Zhihua Shen from East China Normal University and Professor Yafeng Xia from Long Island University. They recently co-wrote a book entitled A Misunderstood Friendship: Mao Zedong, Kim Il-sung, and Sino–North Korean Relations, 1949–1976. Professor Shen compared Chinese perceptions of North Korea under the leadership of Mao Zedong and Deng Xiaoping.

Roundtable with Susan Thornton, Acting Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific Affairs
On September 25, Johns Hopkins SAIS Asia Programs hosted Susan Thornton; as Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary and acting Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific Affairs from 2014-2018, she was the senior U.S. diplomat for Asia under the Obama and Trump Administrations and played a significant role in advancing U.S. policies in critical negotiations across Asia. She gave a comprehensive overview of U.S. diplomacy in the Asia region, and discussed the challenges and opportunities facing the Trump Administration's Indo-Pacific strategy. Students asked for her views on the U.S. alliance system, the Administration’s evolving North Korea policy, and cross-Strait relations. She discussed the importance of diplomacy and encouraged SAIS students to consider careers in the Foreign Service.  
South Asia Studies: Discussion with Rajeev Gowda, Member of Indian Parliament 
On September 18, SAIS Asia Programs held our first fall South Asia Studies roundtable discussion with Rajeev Gowda. Mr. Gowda, a member of the Indian parliament since July 2014, currently serves as the national spokesperson for the Indian National Congress. From 2011 to 2014, he was a member of the Central Board of Directors of at the Reserve Bank of India. Mr. Gowda discussed the future of the Indian National Congress Party and the most pressing issues the party faces regarding the upcoming 2019 Indian national elections.

Past Events

Academic Year 2017-2018

Pakistan Beyond Seventy: The Long View

On April 16 and 17, 2018  SAIS Asia Programs, in association with The Lahore University of Management Sciences (LUMS), presented Pakistan Beyond Seventy: The Long View. The conference examined Pakistan's place in the world seven decades after independence. Pakistan remains deeply marked by its internal contradictions and contested regional relationships. Yet, it has shown a surprising social and political resilience that has belied the bleak forecasts of many of its critics. Building on the retrospective events that marked Pakistan’s seventieth year, the conference brought together leading scholars and policy experts for a clear-eyed exploration of the dynamics that are likely to shape Pakistan’s political stability, its economic health, its place in the wider Eurasian political economy, and its relationship with the United States and its neighbors over the coming decades.

Jim Loi with SAIS StudentsRoundtable with James Loi
On April 4, 2018 Johns Hopkins Asia Programs hosted James Loi, COO and Partner of The Asia Group, for its monthly roundtable discussion. Mr. Loi spoke to students on China's evolving role in Southeast Asia. Mr. Loi also took student's question about his 22 years at the U.S. Department of State as a career Foreign Service Officer and member of the Senior Foreign Service. Abroad Mr. Loi's assignments included a range of economic, political, and security related policy and management roles at U.S. embassies in Singapore, Beijing, Pretoria, and Bucharest. In Washington, he served as the Deputy Assistant Secretary of State in the Bureau of East Asian & Pacific Affairs, Director of East Asian Affairs at the NSC, and Director for China and Japan Trade at USTR.

The student organizers of the SAIS Asia Conference SAIS Asia Conference
The SAIS Asia Confrencem held on March 30 2018, was led by the by the students of Asia Programs and China Studies. The 2018 conference's theme was "Competing Visions for Asia's Future," and sought to understand the implications of these distinct visions for Asia’s future. What structural dynamics guide the advance of these competing visions, and how are countries across the region responding? Does this pluralism mean further integration of the continent or a clash of geopolitical aspirations? What are the roles of non-state actors, such as multinational corporations, multilateral institutions, and subnational entities? The conference saw students from SAIS and other academic institutions present their research, as well as a lively debate on the merits of U.S. allies in Asia seeking an indigenous nuclear deterrent. 

February Policy Luncheon with Dr. Sudhir Shetty, The World Bank
On February 21, 2018 Johns Hopkins SAIS Asia Programs hosted a roundtable discussion with Dr. Sudhir Shetty, Chief Economist for the East Asia and Pacific Region at The World Bank. Dr. Shetty discussed his recently published regional report, Riding the Wave: An East Asian Miracle for the 21st Century. Southeast Asia Studies Professor Vikram Nehru, a former World Bank colleague of Dr. Shetty's, offered expert commentary on his findings.

Getaway Day to the US Department of State
On December 1, 2017 Johns Hopkins SAIS Asia Programs concentrators and minors attended a roundtable with Mark Lambert, Deputy Special Representative for North Korea Policy and Director of the Office of Korean Affairs, and Korea and Southeast Asia analysts from the Intelligence and Research Bureau (INR).

Career Seminar with Maureen Grewe, US Department of the Treasury
On November 17, 2017 Johns Hopkins SAIS Asia Programs hosted Maureen Grewe, senior official with the US Treasury Department, for a seminar to discuss her career and opportunities with the Asian Development Bank (ADB) and the US government. Ms. Grewe was the US Alternative Executive Director at the ADB from 2010-2013 and has worked extensively on multilateral development bank issues, including as Counselor in the Inter-American Development Bank (IADB) Board of Directors and as Treasury's desk officer for IADB. She is currently an International Economist working on China issues in the International Trade Office at the US Treasury Department. She has also worked as Treasury's Financial Attache in Japan. 

Roundtable with Wendy Cutler
On November 8, 2017 Johns Hopkins SAIS Asia Programs hosted Wendy Cutler, Vice President and Managing Director of the Washington, DC office of the Asia Society Policy Institute (ASPI), for its monthly roundtable discussion. Coinciding with President Trump's first visit to Asia, Ms. Cutler discussed her views on the evolving US-Asia trade dynamic post-TPP 12, US-Asia relations under the Trump administration, and implications for the United States and the region. Ms. Cutler also answered student questions about her distinguished career of nearly three decades as a diplomat and negotiator in the White House Office of the US Trade Representative, including her most recent role as Acting Deputy US Trade Representative, in which she worked on a range of trade negotiations and initiatives in the Asia-Pacific region, including the TPP.

Roundtable with Satu Limaye
On October 26, 2017 Johns Hopkins SAIS Asia Programs hosted Dr. Satu Limaye, Washington Director of the East-West Center, for its monthly roundtable discussion. 2017 marked the 25th anniversary of the India-ASEAN bilateral partnership, and in January 2018, the government of India invited ten ASEAN leaders to be chief guests at India's Republic Day parade. Dr. Limaye discussed his views on the evolving India-Southeast Asia relationship and its implications for the region and the United States. 

Twenty Years After the Asian Financial Crisis
On October 12, 2017 Johns Hopkins SAIS Asia Programs, the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace (CEIP) and the ASEAN+3 Macroeconomic Research Office (AMRO) co-hosted an assessment of the Southeast Asia region in the twenty years since the financial crisis. Southeast Asia Studies Professor Vikram Nehru moderated a distinguished panel of experts, featuring Mr. Yasuyuki Sawada, the Chief Economist for the Asian Development Bank (ADB); Dr. Hoe Ee Khor, the Chief Economist of AMRO; Dr. Sudhir Shetty, the Chief Economist of the East Asia and Pacific Region of the World Bank; and Dr. Markus Rodlauer, the Deputy Director of the IMF’s Asia and Pacific Department. The discussion centered on a newly released AMRO report, the “ASEAN+3 Regional Economic Outlook," with Dr. Khor giving a presentation on its findings and recommendations. Panelists commented on the report, discussing whether the economic institutions the ASEAN+3 countries rebuilt or restored following the financial crisis will prove capable of managing future economic shocks or disruptions.
Roundtable with David Rank
In a joint event hosted with Johns Hopkins SAIS China Studies, Asia Programs students attended a roundtable discussion with David Rank, former Deputy Chief of Mission and Chargé d'Affaires at the US Embassy in Beijing. On June 9, 2017, David Rank resigned from the State Department over the Trump's Administration's decision to withdraw from the 2016 Paris agreement on climate change. A 27-year veteran of the Foreign Service, he was one of the State Department's seasoned Asia hands, with a career that included six tours in greater China and appointments in the Office of Korea Affairs and as Special Assistant covering Asia for the Undersecretary of State for Political Affairs. Prior to assuming his post in Beijing, Mr. Rank served as the Director of the State Department's Office of Afghanistan Affairs and as a Senior Advisor to the Special Representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan. From 2011-2012, he was the Political Counselor at the US Embassy in Kabul, Afghanistan. Mr. Rank discussed his foreign service career, noting in particular how he witnessed changing dynamics in China, from the accidental downing of a US plane over the South China Sea in 2001, to preparations for the Beijing Olympics in 2008, and China's significant return to the global stage, manifested in its participation at the United Nations and its strengthening trade and military relations around the world. Mr. Rank concluded the roundtable by answering student questions and offering advice on pursuing careers in diplomacy and policymaking. 
Getaway Day to Capitol Hill
First year Asia Programs concentrators ended their first week of school with a tour of the U.S. Capitol, followed by a roundtable discussion with Congressman Castro on US-Asia policy issues. Congressman Castro serves on the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, as well as House Foreign Affairs. He is also a co-founder of the US-Japan Caucus and launched a Congressional caucus on ASEAN earlier this year. He discussed some of the key priorities and activities of the bipartisan caucuses, and the role of Congress in US Asia policy. With concentrations in Japan, Korea, South Asia and Southeast Asia, the students had a range of questions and observations, from US policies with respect to the North Korea nuclear situation and the Rohingya in Myanmar, to US-Asia trade relations post-TPP. The group also heard from Johns Hopkins SAIS alumnus Sid Ravishankar, MA '17, who serves as Congressman Castro’s legislative assistant on foreign affairs issues. Sid spoke to students about his graduate school experience and how it helped prepare him for his position.

 Academic Year 2016-2017

The First 100 Days: US-Asia-Relations under the Trump Administration

On April 25, 2017, Johns Hopkins SAIS Asia Programs and the Asia Society Policy Institute (ASPI), in association with the Edwin O. Reischauer Center for East Asian Studies and the US-Korea Institute, hosted a conference examining how the Trump Administration has engaged the Asia region and begun to define its foreign policy agenda in Asia, and what the implications are for US-Asia relations. Senator Cory Gardner (R-CO) and Congressman Joaquin Castro (D-TX) gave keynote remarks and an expert panel comprised of Kent Calder, Director of Johns Hopkins SAIS Asia Programs and the Reischauer Center, Wendy Cutler, Vice President of ASPI, Richard Fontaine, President of the Center for a New American Security, Michael Swaine, Senior Fellow at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, and Joshua White, Associate Professor of the Practice of South Asia Studies at Johns Hopkins SAIS discussed a range of political, economic, and security challenges. Jacob Schlesinger, Senior Correspondent for The Wall Street Journal, moderated the discussion. 
Student Roundtable with Congressman Joaquin Castro (D-TX)
On April 25, 2017, Congressman Joaquin Castro (D-TX) spoke with students from the Johns Hopkins SAIS Asia Programs in a closed door session examining US priorities in Asia and his efforts to increase US engagement with the region.


Asia Conference 2017
On March 31, 2017, Johns Hopkins SAIS hosted its 6th annual Asia Conference. The conference provided Johns Hopkins SAIS students interested in Asian studies with a unique opportunity to organize, manage, and run a conference that brought together graduate students and experts in the Asia policy community to present and discuss original research on pressing issues in Asia-Pacific affairs. 
Study Trips to India
During the Winter Break in January, students traveled to Delhi, India to meet with experts and decision makers to discuss how India and China have addressed developmental and strategic challenges. The week in Delhi covered numerous topics related to the political and economic development of India, and how they relate to the rise of China. Students spoke to business leaders representing Chinese and Indian corporations at the Confederation of Indian Industries (CII), the Joint Secretary for East Asia at the Ministry of External Affairs, experts on urbanization, the environment, and agriculture; and senior US diplomats based in India’s capital, among others.
Students also participated in a Winter Break study trip to India to study infrastructure and development in South Asia. Students met with senior officials such as the Joint Secretary at the Department of Economic Affairs and representatives of the Ministry of Finance, visited world-renowned Indian company Tata Power, and spoke with prestigious academics such as Dr. Arvind Panagariya, Vice-chairman of the National Institution for Transforming India (NITI Aayog).
Study Trip to Japan
Students participated in a Study Trip to Japan during Spring Break to study the history of wartime and postwar US-Japan relations and current issues facing the relationship. The study trip also provided students with the opportunity to conduct original research for an annual publication released by the Edwin O. Reischauer Center for East Asian Studies, The United States and Japan in Global Context, a US-Japan Yearbook. During the trip, students met with members of the foreign policy community, government, economic institutions, think tanks, and the Japanese National Diet, among others. They also received briefings from the US Embassy, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Ministry of Defense, and members of the trade industry.
Study Trip to South Korea
Students embarked on a study trip to Korea over Spring Break. The students visited various institutions, government agencies, and think tanks in Korea including the National Assembly, the US Embassy, the Japanese Embassy, Dong-A Ilbo, Korea Institute for Industrial Economics and Trade (KIET), and the Korea Institute for International Economic Policy (KIEP). The lectures, meetings, and interviews conducted during the Korea trip were then integrated into the students’ personal research for their final papers for the course. Those papers will be compiled into an edited student volume, the 2017 SAIS US-Korea Yearbook and published through the US-Korea Institute at Johns Hopkins SAIS.
2017 Lunar New Year Celebration
Asia Programs and China Studies held a joint celebration for the Lunar New Year in January 2017.


Of Counsel: The Challenges of the Modi-Jaitley Economy

The Johns Hopkins SAIS South Asia program is pleased to host a discussion on Arvind Subramanian's recent book, "Of Counsel: The Challenges of the Modi-Jaitley Economy." Dr. Subramanian, the Former Chief Economic Adviser to the Government of India, will be in conversation with Ed Luce, Chief US Commentator for the Financial Times and its former India Bureau Chief, and the author of the highly acclaimed book, "In Spite of the Gods: The Rise of Modern India." RSVP by Monday, February 18, 2019 to

Our Alumni


Graduates of the Asia Programs can be found in nearly every industry. The most common industries for Asia Programs graduates are:
  • Banking/Finance
  • Commercial
  • Consulting & Risk
  • Development
  • Education and Academia
  • International Government
  • Intergovernmental and International Organizations
  • Media
  • NGO/Non-Profit/Advocacy
  • Technology
  • Think Tanks/FFRDCs
  • US Government
Asia Programs graduates can be found at the following organizations, among others:
  • Accenture
  • The Asia Group
  • Bain & Company
  • BBC
  • Booz Allen Hamilton
  • Boston Consulting Group
  • The Brookings Institution
  • Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • CIA
  • Citi
  • The Cohen Group
  • Deloitte
  • Goldman Sachs
  • Google
  • IMF (World Bank)
  • Kaiser Associates
  • McKinsey
  • Morgan Stanley
  • Mitsubishi Corporation
  • New York Federal Reserve
  • Office of the U.S. Trade Representative
  • Smithsonian Institution
  • US Congress
  • US Department of Commerce
  • US Department of Defense
  • US Department of State
  • US Department of the Treasury
  • US Institute of Peace
  • The World Bank

Through advising appointments with the faculty and staff of Asia Programs, current students are connected with alumni who work in industries and at employers of interest. Asia Programs also holds a career coffee series so that alumni can share their experiences with a wide group of students in a roundtable format.

Contact Us

Sharon Yanagi
Associate Director, Asia Programs

Seoho Lee
Program Coordinator

Neave Denny
Administrative Coordinator, Japan Studies

Address & Phone

Asia Programs
1619 Massachusetts Avenue NW
Washington, DC 20036