November 13, 2018: The North Korea Dilemma

Speakers: Col. Lawrence Wilkerson & Dr. Todd Sechser

About the Speakers:

Colonel Wilkerson is a Distinguished Adjunct Professor of Government and Public Policy at the College of William & Mary. His last positions in government were as Secretary of State Colin Powell’s Chief of Staff, Associate Director of the State Department’s Policy Planning staff under the directorship of Ambassador Richard N. Haass, and member of that staff responsible for East Asia and the Pacific, political-military and legislative affairs. Before that, Wilkerson served 31 years in the U.S. Army. During that time, he was a member of the faculty of the U.S. Naval War College, Special Assistant to General Powell when he was Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and Director and Deputy Director of the U.S. Marine Corps War College at Quantico, Virginia. He has also taught national security affairs in the Honors Program at the George Washington University.


Dr. Sechser is the Pamela Feinour Edmonds and Franklin S. Edmonds Jr. Discovery Professor of Politics at the University of Virginia; Professor of Public Policy at the Batten School of Leadership and Public Policy; and a Senior Fellow at the Miller Center of Public Affairs. He is coauthor of the book Nuclear Weapons and Coercive Diplomacy (2017), and his research has appeared in various academic journals. He is also the director of the Program on Strategic Stability Evaluation, a multi-university working group studying the effects of new technologies on international military stability. Dr. Sechser was previously a Stanton Nuclear Security Fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations and a John M. Olin National Security Fellow at Harvard University. He received his Ph.D. in political science from Stanford University, where he wrote an award-winning doctoral dissertation.  Before entering academia, Dr. Sechser worked as a nuclear policy analyst at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace.

About the Program:

With insightful analysis drawn from academic research on the one hand, and expertise and personal stories drawn from a vast experiential background on the other, both speakers shared their take on North Korea and the prospects of diplomacy between the USA, North Korea, and other players of the region.

A summary of the presentations can be found in the Collegian, University of Richmond’s student newspaper, by clicking here.

For those who missed this insightful evening, you can listen to a recording of the program at

To browse event photos, see here.

“This was a first-rate event featuring two outstanding individuals (from a high-ranking government security member and a distinguished scholar) who provided considerable illumination, as well as their concerns about North Korea and the United States approach to the Korean peninsula. I loved the two opinions, which were not in opposition but added depth to the event because of their different perspectives. My friend and I had a long conversation about this event afterwards during dinner.”
– Harry, RWAC member

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