European-DPRK Track II Engagement: Facilitating Dialogue and Diplomacy

National Committee on North Korea & East-West Center in Washington


June 14, 2022, 10:00 am EDT to 11:00 am EDT

European-DPRK Track II Engagement:  Facilitating Dialogue and Diplomacy


Mr. Glyn Ford
Founder and Director, Track2Asia (Brussels)
Mr. Ross Tokola (Opening Remarks)
Executive Associate to the Director, East-West Center in Washington

 Ms. Esther S. Im (Moderator)
Program Manager, National Committee on North Korea 


Nongovernmental engagement between Europe and North Korea, or Track II engagement, has played an important part in facilitating dialogue with North Korea, especially during difficult periods of official diplomacy. European countries such as Sweden, Norway, and Finland have notably taken a lead in investing in these efforts, which have helped to create space and flexibility to discuss sensitive issues. Please join the National Committee on North Korea and the East-West Center in Washington for a North Korea in the World webinar to discuss the role of European-DPRK Track II engagement featuring Glyn Ford of Track2Asia.

This North Korea in the World webinar is the second in a series examining North Korea’s historical and contemporary relations with countries in Europe and how European countries navigate relations between the United States, South Korea, and North Korea and balance national security and economic interests. The North Korea in the World project is a joint initiative of the National Committee on North Korea and the East-West Center in Washington; the website collects and curates information and data on North Korea’s external economic and diplomatic relations. 

This seminar will take place entirely on Zoom via its Webinar platform. This seminar will be on-the-record, recorded on Zoom, and live streamed to YouTube for sharing afterwards.

Speaker Biographies 

Glyn Ford is Founder and Director of Track2Asia, a Bruseels based organization that facilitates informal dialogue between Europe and East Asia. In over 25 years in the European Parliament (EP) Glyn Ford developed an unrivaled expertise on East Asia as a Member of the Foreign Affairs and International Trade Committees. This interest started even before his election to the EP, when he was a visiting Professor in ‘Science and Technology Policy’ at Tokyo University. Immediately after his Japanese experience, he was elected at the EP and became a member of the Delegation for Relations with Japan. His interest expanded over the years to South Korea (he was the Rapporteur on EU-Korea Science and Technology Agreement), China, and the rest of East Asia (he was rapporteur on the EU-ASEAN FTA). He was appointed by the Council of Ministers as the EU’s Chief Election Observer in Indonesia (2004) and Aceh (2006/7). When he left the European Parliament in 2009, Glyn Ford founded the consulting company Polint, which he still leads today. However, in parallel, he continued his political and academic engagement with the DPRK and the East Asian region. These activities, which have always been conducted on a ‘non-profit’ basis, are now carried out in the framework of Track2Asia. Thanks to his engagement with the DPRK, he is now considered one of the most pre-eminent European experts on the Korean peninsula in particular, and East Asia in general. A sample of this expertise can be seen in his books “North Korea on the Brink” (Pluto Press,2008 and later translated into Japanese and Korean) and “Talking to North Korea” (Pluto Press,2018).  Glyn Ford is also a Board Member of the North East Asia Economic Forum (NEAEF) and the Pacific Century Institute (PCI), as well as one of the European co-organisers of a number of Korean Global Forum (KGF) events.


Esther S. Im is Program Manager at the National Committee on North Korea. Previously, she was a Junior Fulbright Researcher in South Korea (2015-16) and a Researcher at the Permanent Mission of the Republic of Korea to the United Nations, where she covered sanctions, nonproliferation, and disarmament issues during South Korea's second term on the Security Council (2013-15). She has interned at the US-Korea Institute at SAIS, Wilson Center, and Council on Foreign Relations. Esther has a M.Sc in Foreign Service from Georgetown University (MSFS) and a B.A. in International Relations-Political Science from Wellesley College.


Ross Tokola is the Executive Associate to the Director at the East-West Center in Washington. Mr. Tokola gives advice and support to the Director on ongoing near-term and long-term strategic projects and programs, and helps monitor progress and ensure effective coordination with East-West Center in Washington staff and stakeholders. Previously, Mr. Tokola was a Program Officer at the Asan Institute for Policy Studies during his five years in Seoul, and worked for the U.S. embassies both in the Republic of Korea and in the United Kingdom. In addition to studying the Korean language at Sogang University in Seoul, he holds a first class honors B.A. and M.A. in Philosophy from Heythrop College, University of London, and a M.Phil. in International Relations from the University of Cambridge.

View Original Invitation.