Frequently Asked Questions

Please select one of the categories below.

Is KEI just focused on economics?

NO.  KEI’s activities and research extend to all aspects of the U.S.-Korea relationship and covers a wide variety of Korea policy issues.  For examples, topics include U.S.-Korea security alliance, North Korea, Korea-China-Japan relations, and the role of Korean-American community in bilateral relations.

That said, KEI does actively promote a robust economic research and program agenda that covers issues ranging from energy and international development to trade agreements and Asian economic integration.

Can I attend KEI programs? Is there a fee to attend?

YES. Most of KEI's Washington, DC programs are open to the public and are free of charge. On occasion, KEI does host programs that are “by invitation only” events.  But, these programs are usually not advertised on our website or are labeled "CLOSED."  

The only regular KEI-sponsored program that does cost to attend is the Korea Club dinner events at Woo Lae Oak restaurant in McLean, VA.  These events are open to the public, but usually require an entrance fee for the buffet dinner.

To sign up to receive email notifications of upcoming events, please sign up here

How do I co-sponsor an event with KEI?

KEI invites the opportunity to co-sponsor events with other thinktanks, universities, civic groups, businesses and government agencies.  In the past, KEI has held joint events with other organizations ranging from small seminars to multi-day conferences.  Organizations wishing to co-sponsor an event with KEI have two contact options:

  • Public affairs groups should email KEI’s Director for Media Relations and Public Affairs, Linda Butcher.
  • Academic groups should email KEI’s Director for Academic Affairs and Research, Nick Hameisvicz.

The other option is to go to the "Bring KEI to You" page and read about how to inquire about KEI's programs by clicking here

What type of programs does KEI sponsor outside of Washington?

KEI organizes many different types of programs with a wide variety of organizations, including universities, World Affairs Councils, Veterans Association, Chambers of Commerce, research institutes, and other civic and non-profit groups.  Programs include luncheon meetings and speaker series, multi-day conferences, and even tabletop exercises/simulations.

If you are interested in inquiring about KEI's outreach programs or collaborating with the institute on a program, please go to the "Bring KEI to You" page by clicking here

Does KEI have affiliations or partnerships with any universities or organizations?

KEI has had partnerships or joint programs with many universities and research institutes each year.  In Korea, KEI receives funding from and has a partnership with the Korea Institute of International Economic Policy (KIEP).  In the United States, KEI is actively working with numerous different institutions and schools.  Below are examples of the schools and research institutes that KEI has worked with in the past.


American University
Columbia University
Davidson College
UC San Diego
Georgia State
West Point
University of Maine
South Dakota State

Asia Foundation
Asia Society
Chicago Council on Global Affairs
Global America Business Institute
Korea Society
Korea International Trade Association
Mansfield Foundation
Meridian International Center
U.S.-Korea Business Council
World Affairs Council


Does KEI provide scholarships, fellowships, or research resources?

No.  KEI does not provide scholarships or fellowships, or supports research other than via its publication activities.

Does KEI sponsor cultural events?

Sometimes.  KEI is primarily an educational institute focused on public policy, but does occasionally sponsor social events. For example, in conjunction with the Korea Foundation, KEI hosted a viewing of a World Cup soccer game between Korea and Russia.

For other Washington D.C.-based events on Korean culture, we recommend checking out the Sejong Society as well as KORUS House.

Does KEI publish anything in the Korean language?

KEI publishes predominantly in English. The Korea Institute for International Economic Policy, with which KEI is contractually affiliated, is located in Seoul and publishes extensively in Korean.

How can I publish a paper with KEI?

KEI commissions original research and policy papers for its various publications, and occasionally publishes a compendium of articles that have previously been presented. The commissioning process either begins with a Call for Papers, or a personal invitation, however, for a variety of publications, including our Special Studies Series, KEI welcomes proposal submissions. Please click here to find out more

What is KEI’s relationship with South Korea and its officials, North Korea, the Korean Embassy in DC, and Korean-Americans?
  • South Korea -- KEI has a contractual relationship with the Korea Institute for International Economic Policy (KIEP), a think tank in Seoul. KIEP is funded by the government of the Republic of Korea through appropriations approved by the National Assembly.
  • Korean Officials / Korean Embassy -- KEI maintains working relations with a range of ROK officials, as well as with KIEP, and works with officials at the Embassy of the ROK in Washington on programs, particularly KEI programs for which embassy officials are speakers.  However, KEI does not take instructions from embassy or government officials. 
  • North Korea -- KEI does not have any relationship with North Korea.
  • Korean-Americans -- KEI have worked with a variety of Korean-American civic organizations on community projects.  KEI also organizes the annual celebration of Korean-American Day.
Does KEI advocate or lobby? Is KEI a think tank or a policy institute?

KEI is best viewed as an educational outreach institute that concentrates its activities on public policy issues. However, KEI does not lobby and does not advocate for specific bills in Congress or for administrative actions.

How is KEI funded?

Most of KEI’s revenue is obtained from the Korea Institute for International Economic Policy (KIEP), a think tank in Seoul that  is financed from public funds. 

What is KEI's legal status?

The Korea Economic Institute of America is a non-profit U.S. corporation registered under the Foreign Agents Registration Act as an agent of the Korea Institute for International Economic Policy, a public corporation established by the Government of the Republic of Korea.  This material is filed with the Department of Justice, where the required registration statement is available for public inspection. Registration does not indicate U.S. government approval of the contents of this document.

KEI is not engaged in the practice of law, does not render legal services, and is not a lobbying organization.

I am interested in a KEI internship, how do I begin the application process?

Further information on the internship can be found here. A completed application packet includes: acover letter, resume and a short 2-3 page academic writing sample (can be cut from a college paper, does not have to be written specifically for the internship). These pieces must be received by the KEI internship coordinator by the deadlines posted. NO EXCEPTIONS WILL BE MADE.


Can I submit my application by e-mail?

Yes! Applicants are encouraged to submit application components by e-mail.

Once I have submitted my completed application, what next?

The internship coordinator will review applications only after the submission deadline has passed—it is not a rolling admission process. If your application is selected for an interview, you will be notified. If you are not notified, your application may still be under consideration, but KEI asks that you limit follow-up queries.

If I am selected for a phone interview, what should I prepare?

The telephone interview is an opportunity for you to further explain or elaborate on any part of your application. It is also your chance to ask questions about KEI, the responsibilities of the interns, or anything else you might have on your mind concerning the internship. Please note, you are being judged on your ability to communicate clearly and effectively. While there is no need to memorize the contents of KEI’s website, or all Korea-related articles in The Economist, we recommend that you conduct the interview in an appropriate and quiet environment, be prepared to talk about your answers to application questions, and if you have to change your appointment for some reason, please notify KEI BEFORE your designated appointment time. Late/missed appointments do not go overlooked in the decision-making process.

What happens after the KEI internship coordinator selects interns?

Once interns have been selected, EVERY APPLICANT will be notified. There will be three or four interns and two alternates who will be notified of their status. Alternates will be given the opportunity to remain as alternates or to remove themselves from consideration. Those interns who are selected as an intern or an alternate must reply to their notification giving their decision to accept or reject their status within one week of the decision notification. Those applicants who are not selected are encouraged to try again. If you wish KEI to hold your application for another semester, please write and let us know.

What is a typical day for KEI interns?

KEI interns are asked to work full-time, or give at least 35 hours/week. This means that interns begin their day at 9:00AM. Morning projects might be administrative, but short in execution—helping the office open for business, or preparing for staff meetings—or might involve event planning and preparation. If KEI is hosting a program in the office, interns are instrumental in the preparation for these programs. This involves: setting up the conference room, prepping the refreshments, greeting the guests, and taking detailed notes on the substance of the program. These notes will later be used to draft a KEI Report. These reports are usually 1- 2 pages in length, and are an analytical summary of the program using professional academic language. It is imperative that KEI interns possess excellent verbal/written English communication skills. If the program is outside of the office, interns are responsible for registering, attending, taking notes, and drafting a report. Interns are a public face of KEI and are expected to conduct themselves accordingly. Afternoons are often spent doing research projects, writing reports, and attending to office issues. A typical intern day concludes at 5:00PM.
A more quantitative description of the internship duties would look like this:

Administrative responsibilities: 10%
In-house program responsibilities:  10%
Out of office program attendance: 20%
Report Writing: 30%
Research and other staff assigned projects: 30%


What is the dress-code at KEI?

KEI requires business-attire every day, with more formal business attire on days when there are in-house programs. NO JEANS, NO TENNIS SHOES.

Are there exceptions to the start/end dates listed?

KEI is very flexible when it comes to hiring interns because we understand the responsibilities that many of our interns have outside of the office. Please be honest on your application form about when you are available to work and we can try to accommodate you. It never hurts to ask!

Do KEI interns have to speak Korean?

No, in fact, some of KEI’s staff members do not have a strong command of Korean. Exposure to Korean language comes in handy at KEI and will certainly not be held against an applicant, but it is not an internship requirement.

Is the KEI internship paid? Do you offer housing?

Similar to most organizations in Washington, KEI only offers an unpaid internship. Academic credit is generally available if the intern coordinator can work with the university requirements. Similarly, KEI does not offer intern housing, but can assist with settlement if needed by recommending some organizations and universities that offer affordable housing for interns.

How much interaction is there with KEI interns and the full-time staff?

KEI is a small organization, which allows interns full-access to the staff. The office functions very constructively and with the interns completely integrated into the system. This offers maximum exposure to all aspects of KEI governance and function and close, personal relationships with the other interns and the staff.

Are there any opportunities for intern-produced publication?

KEI publishes a monthly newsletter that uses intern economic analysis and data collection and offers the intern who submits it a by-line. Otherwise, intern reports have the author’s name on them and are read widely in the U.S. and Korean government and policy communities. While not formally published, intern writing is exposed in this way. Very occasionally, there are other opportunities for interns to work with a staff member on a research paper that will be published either in-house or by another organization.

Based on what criteria do KEI intern coordinators select interns?

There are a number of factors that play into selection of interns, but the ideal intern is someone who can demonstrate the following:

Report Writing:

  • Writing is timely, concise, and grammatically effective
  • Applicant can take and utilize constructive criticism


  • Shows composure, cultural adaptability

Office Administration:

  • Applicant shows initiative and recognizes and assumes responsibility for work that needs to be done
  • Interacts well with coworkers—recognizes his/her place in the team, exercises self-motivation and assertiveness when appropriate
  • Applicant can assume personal responsibility for the mission actualization of projects of which he/she is a part


  • Demonstrates a depth of exposure to research methods and information collection

 We deduce whether or not an applicant fits these standards using all portions of the application: application form, application essay, resume, cover letter, writing sample, and phone interview.