CASBS Signs New Fellowship Agreement with Korean Foundation

CASBS at Stanford Univ.
4 min readApr 29, 2023


CASBS director Woody Powell and KFAS president Choi Byung-il

The Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences (CASBS) at Stanford University is pleased to announce a new fellowship partnership with the Korea Foundation for Advanced Studies (KFAS), a nonprofit foundation based in Seoul, South Korea.

Under a memorandum of understanding, signed in February 2023 at CASBS, KFAS will support one fellow per year in residence at CASBS, for an initial period of three years, starting with the 2024–25 academic year. The agreement was signed by Walter “Woody” Powell, the Sara Miller McCune Interim Director of CASBS, and Choi Byung-il, President of KFAS.

The CASBS-KFAS partnership will promote cross-disciplinary and cross-national research and collaboration in the social, behavioral, and other humanistic sciences. Each year, KFAS will disseminate a call for applications throughout South Korea and draw from a nationwide pool of scholars. As with the Center’s other international fellowship agreements (its agreement with Taiwan the most similar), each prospective fellow will undergo a double vetting — first through KFAS’s own selection process and then through the same evaluation process that CASBS applies to all its fellowship applicants.

“We want to extend the reach of the Center’s international ties, particularly in larger countries with broad commitments to the social sciences,” said Woody Powell. “South Korea boasts a particularly strong social sciences community, so I’m elated about this partnership and look forward to returning to CASBS specifically to welcome the first KFAS fellow in person.”

The agreement with CASBS will mark an expansion of the kind of scholarly activities KFAS supports. Since its establishment in 1974, KFAS has awarded about 800 PhD fellowships for Korean students to study abroad in all fields, as well as cultivated youth empowerment and advancement for tens of thousands of younger Koreans. The KFAS fellows at CASBS will be the first Korean scholars to receive outbound post-doctoral or faculty-level fellowships from the foundation.

“Based on Korea’s unique economic, political, and social development trajectory, I expect that KFAS fellows at CASBS will enrich cross-national and cross-cultural understandings on some of the defining behavioral and social issues of the world,” said Choi Byung-il, the KFAS president. “I also expect the KFAS fellows will be enriched by their interactions at CASBS and bring back that enrichment to the benefit of Korean society.”

Credit Woody Powell for catalyzing the process that ultimately resulted in the agreement. In summer 2022, in contemplating initiatives to pursue on behalf of the Center in his upcoming one-year term as interim director, his attention turned to a potential relationship of some sort with South Korea.

Powell drew upon his extensive network and distinguished career as a teacher, mentor, and scholar of organizations. He spoke with Hokyu Hwang, a former student, current collaborator, and professor of management at the University of New South Wales in Australia. Hwang loved the general idea and suggested Powell contact Yong Suk Jang, a Stanford sociology PhD, professor of public administration, and dean of the Institute of Higher Education at Yonsei University, in Seoul. Incidentally, Jang formerly served as a member of the KFAS board of directors.

A Zoom meeting between Powell and Jang led to an introduction to Choi Byung-il, the KFAS president. In their first Zoom meeting, Powell and Choi instantly hit it off. Of course, those who meet Woody Powell gravitate to his understated charm. But, on top of that, it didn’t hurt that Choi already was familiar with CASBS.

As an economics graduate student at Yale University in the 1980s (completing his PhD in 1990), Choi studied under advisor Professor Paul Milgrom. In 1987, Milgrom left Yale and joined the Stanford University faculty. More importantly, Milgrom went from the main campus to the Center’s hilltop to enjoy CASBS fellowships in 1991–92 and 1998–99.[1] It’s through his ongoing interactions with Milgrom that Choi gained his first awareness.

“I knew CASBS was such a terrific place for scholars from the humanities and social sciences to broaden their perspectives,” said Choi Byung-il. “Decades later, I am so thrilled to see KFAS joining in partnership with this exciting intellectual accelerator.”

After that first Zoom meeting, Powell and Choi quickly fleshed out the general parameters of the fellowship agreement. In September 2022, Choi visited CASBS for the first time, meeting with CASBS deputy director Sally Schroeder to discuss further details. By November, most of the agreement had taken shape.

In February 2023, Choi led a KFAS delegation to CASBS for a signing ceremony. The delegation included Hyeejung Suh, director of the KFAS International Cooperation office; Sunhyuck Kim, a professor in the Department of Public Administration at Korea University; and Jiyeoun Song, a professor in the Graduate School of International Studies at Seoul National University. Both Kim and Song are members of KFAS’s advisory council.

Woody Powell was joined by CASBS deputy director Sally Schroeder and four invited guests from the 2022–23 CASBS fellows class: Cameron Campbell, Chair Professor in the Division of Social Sciences at the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology; Tzu-wei Hung, an associate research fellow at Academia Sinica, Taiwan; Dianne Pinderhughes, the Rev. Edmund P. Joyce, C.S.C. Endowed Chair of Africana Studies and Political Science at the University of Notre Dame as well as current president of the International Political Science Association; and Wilson Wong, associate professor and director of the Data Science and Policy Studies Program at the Chinese University of Hong Kong (CUHK). Hung is the Stanford-Taiwan Social Science fellow at CASBS during the 2022–23 academic year; Wong is the CUHK-Stanford University fellow at CASBS during the 2022–23 academic year.

[1] Milgrom is the 28th of 30 CASBS fellows to win the Nobel Prize. View the full list.

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CASBS at Stanford Univ.

Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences (CASBS) at Stanford University