About Me

I am an associate professor of international relations in the Political Science and Diplomacy Department of Pusan National University in Busan, Korea.

PhD, 2005:

  • Political Science
    • International Relations
      • international security
      • international organization
    • Political Theory
  • Ohio State University

Fellowships:

Popular Publication Outlets:

Social Media:

Television Appearances:

  • Collected here on YouTube

My best topical & regional areas are:

  • US Foreign Policy
  • International Relations Theory
  • East Asia
  • Korea
  • International Monetary Fund
  • World Bank

In Busan, I teach US foreign policy, Globalization, Post-9/11 Security, basic IR theory, International Organization, and US politics.

My language training includes: German, French, Russian, Latin, Korean, classical Greek

I lived in Europe for 4 years. I have lived in Korea since summer 2008. I have traveled to about 40 different countries, including North Korea.

My wife teaches yoga; we have a daughter and a son. My father is an excellent historian. My mother is a high school English teacher.

What Else?

In my other life, I would have been a screenwiter, a musician, or a classicist. I enjoy film a lot and write about it infrequently here. I also enjoy classical music very much (Austro-Germans mostly), and I read a lot of course. I find antiquity so fascinating that I took two extra years of grad school just to study Greek and Latin. Reading “Socrates’ Apology” in the original is one of the great achievements of my life. I game sometimes; needless to say, I’m terrible.

Thanks for coming to my site. I hope you like it.

116 thoughts on “About Me

  1. Pingback: 2010 in review – from Wordpress Statistics – Thanks for Reading « Asian Security Blog

  2. I took your class as an undergrad at OSU…you had us watch Dr. Strangelove…I still remember you almost falling out of your chair from laughter at different points from the movie….You had us write a paper…you once brought me out into the hall and told me that mine sucked, but it couldn’t have been THAT bad since I got an A- in the class..hahaha, in all seriousness, I really enjoyed your class. Had I known you were in Korea when I was there over the 2006 New Years, I would have looked you up….I was teaching English in Japan at that point and the DMZ tour was by far one of the coolest things I have ever done.

    Matt Nunn
    OSU ’05
    Syracuse Law ’13

    • Well I am glad you liked the class and did pretty well. I still show Dr. Strangelove. It is a great film. Glad to see you found your way into a good grad program.

      Best of luck,
      REK

  3. great blog – i stumbled upon it after reading “the german-korean unification parallel” for a paper i’m writing on the korea herald’s reporting about unification. i look forward to many more insights from your posts! all the best!

    • Glad you like it. Thank you. That KJDA piece is only a most basic sketch. The definitive comparative treatment of German and Korean unification scenarios is still waiting to be written.

      • Is there a link where we can read the other unification scenarios? I’ve had to deal with this issue and would like to know more and maybe offer other ideas/solutions/scenarios.

  4. I have to agree. This is a great blog, I appreciate the depth, insight and humor. It’s nice to read an intelligent/educated blog about Korea without all the usual pop content. Just good reads.

    Thanks for sharing,
    Mark L.
    Gwangju, South Korea
    M.A. in Literature

  5. Amazing experiences! I think you could be interested in one of my post:

    http://academicinsight.it/2012/08/21/global-emerging-voices/

    Nice blog by the way! Hope you would like to share some of your experiences in Academic Insight. It’s a Blog including professional’s interviews, university activities, student associations (offering also internships) to enrich CV and personality and to link university and jobs! Over 23.000 views in the first 3 months!

    Best,

    Gherardo

  6. I came across your blog after reading a reply you had to another “scholar” who visited NK. I was an USAF officer stationed in Europe in the late 80s and early 90s. I remember taking the train from West Germany into Berlin. What I remembered of the tour of East Germany was how gray and ugly the landscape. Eventually, we reached the outskirts of West Berlin and it was a kaleidescope of colors in a sea of gray. No wonder the Russians hated our presence in that city. It made a mockery of the workers paradise on a daily basis. From what I understand, East Germany was nothing compared to the drabness that is NK. How anyone can write a cheery article on the last anachronistic Stalinist state is beyond me. Keep up the good work and make sure you don’t fight in the war room. 🙂

  7. Pingback: Hating Bush and debating the Gulf War | The War Room

  8. Pingback: NKorea Recap (2): NK is an ‘Upper Volta with Nukes’, so Ignore Them | Robert Kelly — Asian Security Blog

  9. Pingback: My Diplomat Interview on North Korea, Syria, and China’s Rise | Robert Kelly — Asian Security Blog

  10. Pingback: Korea and the World Interviews Robert Kelly: the US in Asia, Nationalism, and Territorial Disputes | NA Institute

  11. Just found your blog and I’m hooked. Love it, love it. You’re kind of like B.R. Myers, except with wit and humor! No offense to B.R. Myers, I like him as well.

  12. I absolutely loved that interview … And you studied Classics! I just have to start reading your blog now.
    Best wishes,
    Amanda

  13. It happened for me to found your blog after the viral BBC interview. And so, I am now hooked to it. Looking forward for more writings from you too. Although I do not study anything in regard to International Relation, but it is great to know more about it especially about the Kim Jong Nam’s murder.

    Atiqah Lott
    B.Ec, University of Malaya,
    Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

  14. I found myself here after the BBC viral video, I just want to say you have an adorable family, this video managed to brighten my day, and I actually learned something about this South Korea situation. 🙂 Kudos to your professionalism.

    • I agree with Nancy. I haven’t really paid attention to South Korea as much as I should, and that delightful interview led me to read your twitter comments on the impeachment and watch the full interview. South Korea has certainly shown the world how to truly respect democracy. Thank you for sharing your insight and knowledge.

  15. I’m with Nancy up there… I saw your interview and the beautiful interruption of “grown up stuff” by your sweet children. In the midst of difficult realities of this messed up world, we all got to be reminded of the precious reasons we all have to, and strive, to deal with the brokenness of this world. That your children felt no pause to come into your office space reveals a lot, I estimate, about you and your family and your relationship with your children. I just wanted to stop by and say thanks for cheering up a Guy in Little Rock, Arkansas.

    Grace,
    Guy

  16. I’m here after seeing your BBC interview. Anyone with kids who works can completely understand how you must have felt – and it was adorable. The first one – the way she walked in & especially when the second one came in too–and we felt both mortified on your behalf and delighted by just how kids are…hahaha! My husband and I are both working professionals (MDs) & have 3 – and I am positive that this could easily have happened to us as well. Despite being an avid new junkie, I also actually learned about the impeachment from this viral video, so, I think your kids did more good than you could imagine.

  17. Just seeing the video made me laugh so hard. It was awesome. I could see you being annoyed a bit…but it was awesome! Hope you find some encouragement with these messages.

    • I didn’t see any annoyance at all. Watch him when he glances periodically to the bottom of the screen — there’s nothing but smiles.

  18. Your family is the best thing ever and you’ve made my day! I hope you’re all high-fiving tonight for lifting thousands of people’s spirits!

  19. Pingback: ¡Hola papá! El tierno ‘photobomb’ de sus hijos en una entrevista en vivo – Canal Antigua

  20. Saw your interview and it was fabulous. What a wonderful family you have. Your wife is a ninja and I love how your composure was cracking with holding back laughter. True life moment here.
    When my husband works from home I have done some run in the room and pull a kid out action myself.
    This is real life. I love it.

  21. I’ve been reading your blog for a long time now, and have always appreciated it. It was a delight to realize that the viral BBC video was of the scholar who has long informed my view of Asian affairs. Thanks for the information, and thank you, your wife, and your kids for the smiles.

  22. As a graduate of IR and someone who focused on Asia (particularly China and Korea) during their studies, I instantly fell in love with your family and your blog 🙂

    Best regards from Slovakia

  23. Echoing the comments of multiple folks… I discovered your blog thanks to the BBC video that included the delightful cameo of your sweet family. Looking forward to reading more of your thoughtful commentary!

  24. Your BBC video was amazing. As a working parent myself, I am thrilled to see more of the juggle on the big screen (even if it wasn’t planned). Cheers to you and your family from sunny Los Angeles!

  25. Pingback: Turns Out That BBC Correspondent Interrupted by a Child Graduated from Ohio State – Home of the Ohio State Buckeyes

  26. As a social media consultant and marketer, I just wanted to say PROPS to you for leveraging your viral video to educate others! My father and I are also lovers of history, especially military history. I’m now following you on social media and will be reading more of your work. It’s a breath of fresh air to find someone in the intellectual sphere who has wit, humor, a balanced outlook, and common sense. Also, as someone who regularly has video conferences for work – I feel your pain of the juggle between kids and career. You handled the situation masterfully!

  27. Dr Kelly…thank you for your recent BBC interview with your adorable kids as co-host. It really hit home for us as it reminded me of when my husband has court call in appointments from home (he’s an atty, btw) and the our kids start screaming in the background interrupting the court proceedings. Anyway, I think you should do future interviews with your kids in your lap. Everyone in the world would love it, as it demonstrates the reality of parenting and working from home. Kudos to your kids as you may become the most famous poli sci professor in the world now (I love it as I also have a poli sci degree).

  28. Again, like so many others, I discovered this insightful blog after seeing the hilarious “you can’t make this stuff up” clip from the BBC. As Guy has said above, your beautiful family interrupting the “adulting” is a great reminder of the real values of life even as we contemplate the horrors of today’s world. You have cheered many of us today. Hooray to you and your wife for being real and human. You are certainly blessed with a wonderful family.

  29. Pingback: Robert Kelly — father from hilarious viral video — has Ohio State degree – Home of the Ohio State Buckeyes

  30. Your BBC interview on Friday was, hands down, the best thing I’ve seen in weeks.
    Thank you (and your family) for making my day.
    Seriously.
    You’re my hero.
    From, Emily

  31. Pingback: 【動画】韓国の教授、BBCテレビ生中継で子供が乱入?面白すぎる映像に |

  32. Your kids interrupting that interview gave me the warm fuzzies – I grew up with a stay at home Dad* who had a home office in the days when long distance calls meant he had to speak up to be heard, so he’d warn me beforehand that I needed to be quiet. We still have some of the post-it notes I wrote him while he was on the phone, asking if we could get ice cream or walk the dog when he was done. I now work in the same industry (aviation), with the same amount of passion, and it’s our greatest bond. Maybe your daughter just wanted to listen in and gain some insight 😉

    *He gave up the home business to go to work for an airline that my Mom joined him at two years later, then I was hired four years later. He retired in 2013, she’s ready to do the same pretty soon, but I’m keeping the family legacy alive!

  33. Your family are awesome. Your wife is the best multi-tasker in the world and has inadvertedly made you the most famous Korean expert in the world

  34. Hi, I am also one of the folks who was brought to this site by the great clip where your BBC interview had been interrupted by your children. As everyone indicated, I found the clip was more than entertaining. You have lovely family, who made you a world-class star. Of course your scholarship activities should not be diluted by this lovely episode. I am also impressed by your active writings about international politics. I admire prolific writers like you. I came to Busan (your town) about more than two years ago, relocating to Pukyong National University after spending about two decades in the USA. Now I work as a faculty member in fisheries science. If you *might* need information about fisheries management, I would be more than happy to chat with you. Best Wishes.

  35. I watched BBC interview. just want to tell you that dont get stress from what some people said. They are kind of people who just say before think or understand it. I understand it was very important interview to you so you were bit nervous to react well in that situation also your wife as well. Keep it up!

  36. Hey Robert,

    You should do a follow up on that BBC interview. Write about what went through your head and what happened afterwards. Or maybe even do a quick video showing you and your family having a good time and just laughing about what happened. Helps to show that it’s OK that these things happen in life and that not everything should be taken so seriously when it’s on TV – makes you look human.

    This is your moment to get lots of traffic.

    Best,
    Adrian

  37. Love kids in the News cast on BBC. You are an instant celebrity. Happened to me in past as well. I know it was frustrating in the moment but everyone loves it. It made my day.

  38. Hello, what a beautiful video on BBC! Even Clarissa Pinkola Estes (author of the bestseller “Women Who Run With the Wolves”) commented with enthusiasm on her Facebook page. Best wishes from Rome (Italy)

  39. I stumble upon your blog after watching the BBC interview video. Please ignore the negative comments they have nothing better to do. I just wanted to say it was the cutest video ever! Despite the fact that your interview was interrupted, I think it was a nice father family moment that can be remember forever. Your kids are adorable and wife is the best! She came to rescue 🙂 I don’t think anyone could’ve done it better. Best wishes to your family and your career. Please write more I just have to read your blog now.

  40. I can’t get enough of the interview. I’ve watched it several times and still laugh every time. I came to your blog to get more insight on your response to the viral video. I didn’t find anything but did enjoy your bio. Looking forward to the follow up interview with you and your family.

  41. A star is born. Prof. Kelly – I am an admirer now 🙂 Kudos to your wife for doing a great job during the BBC interview. Wishing your family all the best, good health, and a great future

  42. That interview you gave was fantastic, Robert! Things don’t always go the way you planned it to but at least that brought a smile to thousands of people’s faces. You have a great blog too which I’ll probably stay updated on. I’m fascinated by Korea and the politics surrounding the North and South.

    Keep it up mate!

  43. Professor Kelly, please don’t be embarrassed. Also please give your wife a standing ovation from me. She was incredibly efficient. I wish I was half as efficient as her. And your kids are adorable!

    Maybe this newfound, instant recognition is not what you are used to (I appreciate that as I am also in academia), but please, again, don’t be embarrassed.

    Someone from Strasbourg, France.

  44. Professor Kelly, please don’t be embarrassed. Also please give your wife a standing ovation from me. She was incredibly efficient. I wish I was half as efficient as her. And your kids are adorable!

    Maybe this newfound, instant recognition is not what you are used to (I appreciate that as I am also in academia), but please, again, don’t be embarrassed.

    Someone from Strasbourg, France.

  45. Hope you could come to Vancouver and give a talk on IR soon.
    Looking forward to reading your work, Professor Kelly.

    Grad student from Vancouver, Canada

  46. Nice job keeping your compositor. I work from home and do Video call all the time. Kids run in on me way too often. Glad it happened. I often travel and work in Asia. I like to keep up with Asia Pacific politics. Glad to have discovered you and your blog. I am looking forward to reading your posts. Best of luck to you and your family 🙂

  47. I was already dying laughing… and then the baby in the walker rounds the corner!!! And then your obviously mortified wife skids in!!! And you keeping your cool anyway 🙂 Thank you so much for that accidentally WONDERFUL bit of tv. 🙂

  48. Mahalo Nui Loa,
    Ohana means family and family means that no one gets left behind. It was cross cultural moment that anyone on the global could appreciate. I hope your work will go viral as well. For our ohana in Hawaii surely want to avoid getting nukes by the crazy North Koreans.

  49. Love your family. The news should show this more “human” side of all of us. Enjoyed this news cast more than any other I’ve seen in a very long time. Thanks.

  50. I also love your family. 🙂 And how you kept your composure and that twinkle of a smile … and your wife running in to save the day! Your daughter’s adorable swagger, the baby in the walker … brilliant. That is real life with little kids right there, though most of us aren’t captured on live TV. 😉

  51. The video with the kids are trending on Youtube Romania, Serbia and Bulgaria also. You were the main topic for all vloggers in this region. You have surpassed anything else here…this will be an good memories for your children when they will grow…you have an amazing family also. And don’t take things so seriously.

  52. I just caught the video via Facebook, but for those of us who work from home this was the best moment ever. Your kids are so cute and happy and your poor wife is beside herself. Although unintended and initially frustrating, you have made all of us feel good and it is so refreshing to know it happens to the best of us.

  53. Pingback: 【閲覧注意】 無邪気な乱入者に苦笑い BBC放送で韓国情勢解説中の教授の背後に!!!!!|2chまとめ-チラ見速報

  54. Who didn’t love Jack Kennedy’s picture of him working while John Jr. crawled under his desk? I dare say your wonderful video resonated in much the same way and for the same reasons. Thank you!

  55. Pingback: 【视频】BBC严肃直播朴槿惠弹劾案 遭两名熊孩子乱入抢镜 | 鸟哥娱乐

  56. Pingback: Jung-a Kim Professor Robert Kelly's Wife (Bio, Wiki)

  57. What a lovely family! Thank you for your insightful knowledge about Korea and also for entertaining us with your beautiful children who adore you and your sweet wife trying to give you space.

  58. Of course I have seen the viral video. But I found this site after the Wall Street Journal interview because I was wondering why the author of that article referred to you throughout the entire piece as MR Kelly rather than Dr. or Professor Kelly.

  59. Proffessor Kelly,
    Just know your video to me has raised awareness of the Korean peoples struggle. I will do my best to better understand and educate myself on how we can help.
    By the way i really liked your green slippers, it really personifies the human kid and free time struggle!
    Best to your success,
    Robert David Burns

  60. Hi Robert and Jung-a,

    I wanted to say thank you for both interviews you did recently with the BBC.

    I want you both to be happy with your unintended viral video and the follow up interview.

    Firstly, the viral video brought so much joy to the world.

    Secondly I think both interviews combined helped the world move a step towards less prejudice. There were some people who assumed Jung-a you were the nanny and that Robert you were a disinterested father. If you re-watch the first video or watch the second video those inaccurate assumptions are quickly contradicted. By giving people a way to (1) react and then recognize their prejudices and (2) see their prejudices are wrong, you have moved everyone a step closer to being more aware of themselves and interpreting the world in a less negative way.

    In these times that is so valuable,
    Thank you.

  61. Professor Kelly,
    It is really a pleasure to discover your blog after watching your BBC interview. As a student majoring in IR (also focusing on East Asian region) in Hong Kong, I find your writings fruitful, informative and intriguing.

    Looking forward to your upcoming posts, and sending my best wishes to you, to your beautiful wife and to your two lovely kids!

  62. I watched your BBC interview about 20 times by now. Still laugh so hard every time I watch it. Such a cute family!

  63. Dear Dr. Kelly,

    At the risk of repeating everyone else’s sentiments… Thanks to you and your beautiful family for this delightful slice of life moment (and follow up interviews). Though unplanned, the unfolding background events during your BBC interview managed to bring moments of pure joy to many of us who viewed it, including my entire family. Most welcome and much needed at the moment.

    Another upside is it managed to convey details about the current South Korean political situation to many folks who might not ordinarily have followed this news. So, well done!

    Thanks for the laughs and reminding us what really matters in life. And hopefully this moment in the (worldwide) spotlight will provide many future happy memories for all of you!

    Warmest wishes to you, your wife and children.

    PS: Casting my vote for the “Marion Strut” as a 2017 new word addition to Merriam-Webster dictionary.

  64. Hi Dr. Kelly, sir, you have an absolutely lovely, beautiful and precious family. Two gorgeous, precious little children, and a lovely wife. You seem like a brilliant professor too. This video was fantastic, absolutely wonderful. Please don’t be embarrassed. You have give the world exactly what it needs right now, laughter and joy, which has replaced the anger, hate, and misery which it has had an abundance of lately. Dr. Kelly, sir, thank you, to you and your whole family, thank you so much. Take care of them sir, and yourself. They’re wonderful.

  65. I think you’re a great father. I love that the children are free to come into your study. Your wife seems lovely too. I hope the media circus will calm down for you now!

  66. Your BBC clip brought me so much laughter from the first time I saw it on Twitter a few hours after it happened to the dozens of times I’ve watched and shared it since; balancing work and family life is such a challenge, and at the end of the day we’re all just people making our way through… I have a daughter named Marion, too, and I adore your kiddo’s joy. Keep up the good work of being a successful family man and a successful professional. All the best to all of you!

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