Washington Events

Wednesday, December 07, 2016 at 06:30 PM
International Student House in Washington, DC

A Conversation with North Korean Defector, Mr. Kang Cheol Hwan

Young Professionals in Foreign Policy will be joining the North Korea Strategy Center (NKSC) for a discussion with North Korean defector, Mr. Kang Cheol Hwan. Mr. Kang will speak about his experience in North Korea including prison camp conditions and his reasons for escaping, the current state of information freedom in North Korea, and NKSC US initiatives on freedom of information and leadership development and empowerment. Dr. David Shin from the MASY Group will moderate the discussion. 

Mr. Kang

Mr. Kang Cheol Hwan was born in 1968 in Pyongyang, North Korea. At age 9, Mr. Kang was sent along with his family to Yodok Concentration Camp after his grandfather was accused of treason. He spent 10 years in the prison camp, suffering brutal conditions, starvation and hard labor.  After being released, Mr. Kang eventually escaped North Korea, crossing into China in 1992 and eventually reaching South Korea. In 2000, he published the autobiographical “The Aquariums of Pyongyang”, the very first survivor’s account of North Korea’s concentration camps. In 2003, he was awarded the National Endowment of Democracy’s “Democracy Award” and in 2006, he was selected as one of Time Magazine’s “Asian Heroes”. In 2007, Mr. Kang established NKSC in Seoul, South Korea.  Mr. Kang is a contributing author to the Chosun Ilbo on North Korean issues.

Dr. David Shin is an Associate at MASY Group and has been a contract staff member of the NIU faculty since 2011. He has over 25 years of U.S. Army intelligence experience. This includes collaboration and coordination with Allies and Partners in the Asia-Pacific region during various staff and leadership assignments with the Second Infantry Division, Intelligence and Security Command (Chief and Special Agent in Charge, Security Liaison Detachment, Tokyo), 3rd Special Forces Group (A) (Counterintelligence Officer), Defense Intelligence Agency (Assistant Army Attaché-Seoul), United Nations Command Military Armistice Commission at Panmunjom (Staff Officer), Asia-Pacific Center for Security Studies (Senior Army Research Fellow), U.S. Army Pacific (G-5, Security Cooperation and Policy), and the Joint Staff (North Korea Desk Officer (Six-Party Talks Staff Officer) and Northeast Asia Division Chief, J-5). 



The North Korea Strategy Center U.S. Inc. (NKSC US) is an independent, non-profit, non-partisan organization. As a defector-led organization, NKSC US believes that North Koreans are leading change in North Korea. It accelerates this people powered change by providing a platform for North Korean voices. Their programs empower North Koreans within the country with access to information, while supporting defectors outside of North Korea with leadership development programs and international support networks. 


Donations to NKSC would be much appreciated. Click here to donate to the cause beforehand, or you can donate at the event.






Tuesday, December 13, 2016 at 06:30 PM
International Student House in Washington, DC

Transatlantic Cooperation and the Syrian Refugee Crisis: A Conversation with Jonathan Cohen

Syria’s civil war has created one of the worst humanitarian crises of our time. Half the country’s pre-war population have been killed or forced to flee their homes. According to the UN, approximately 11 million Syrians have been displaced from their homes, including 4.8 million refugees who have sought safety in neighboring countries.

Join YPFP for a conversation with Jonathan Cohen, Deputy Assistant Secretary for European and Eurasian Affairs covering Cyprus, Greece and Turkey. With extensive experience across Europe and the Middle East, Mr. Cohen will comment on transatlantic cooperation and the Syrian refugee crisis.


Jonathan Cohen
has been the Deputy Assistant Secretary for European and Eurasian Affairs covering Cyprus, Greece and Turkey since August 2016.  He previously served in Baghdad as Deputy Chief of Mission 2014-2016, in Paris as the Acting Deputy Chief of Mission 2013 to 2014 and as the Minister Counselor for Political Affairs 2011 to 2013.

From 2008 to 2011, he served as Deputy Chief of Mission in Nicosia. From 2004-2008, he was Counselor for Political-Military Affairs in Rome. A Foreign Service Officer since 1986, other previous assignments include: Ankara as Political Advisor to Operation Northern Watch, and Embassy Iraq Specialist 2000-2004; Political Advisor to the Office of Reconstruction and Humanitarian Assistance-North, Irbil, and member of the Coalition Provisional Authority (CPA) Governance Team, Baghdad, April-July 2003; Stockholm as Political Officer 1996-2000; Vienna as Liaison to the Hungarian Chairmanship of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) and Executive Assistant to the Head of the OSCE Bosnia Mission 1995-1996; State Department (Washington, DC) as OSCE Desk Officer/NATO Bosnia Officer 1993-1995, and on Secretariat Staff/Advance Teams for Secretaries of State Baker, Eagleburger and Christopher 1991-1993; Jerusalem as USAID Coordinator and Economic Officer for the West Bank 1989-1991; and Bangkok as Consular/Refugee Affairs Officer 1987-1989.

He graduated with an BA in Politics and a certificate in Near Eastern Studies from Princeton in 1985, spent 1985-1986 at Hebrew University in Jerusalem on an Israeli Government Grant and attended Georgetown’s Masters of Science in Foreign Service Program in 1986. His hometown is Laguna Beach, California.

Wednesday, December 14, 2016 at 06:30 PM

International Education in America with Deputy Assistant Secretary Mohamed Abdel-Kader

In a globalizing world, international experience and international education is increasingly important. 

“Students and business people need a global understanding and mindset to exist in the world today ... Giving our students and workers global competencies,” he says, “strengthens our national security, foreign relations, business competitiveness, and our increasingly diverse communities.” -Mohamed Abdel-Kader, Deputy Assistant Secretary, Department of Education

Join us for an in depth discussion with Mohamed Abdel-Kader, Deputy Assistant Secretary of the International and Foreign Language Education Office in the Department of Education. DAS Abdel-Kader will discuss the importance of international education to our national security, our economic competitiveness, and our neighborhoods & schools.

About DAS Mohamed Abdel-Kader

Picture of Mohamed Abdel-Kader, Deputy Asst Secy for Interntl and Foreign Language Education

Mohamed Abdel-Kader is the Deputy Assistant Secretary in the International and Foreign Language Education (IFLE) Office at the U.S. Department of Education’s (ED) Office of Postsecondary Education (OPE). As Deputy Assistant Secretary of IFLE, Mohamed is responsible for encouraging and promoting the study of foreign languages and the study of the cultures of other countries at the elementary, secondary, and postsecondary levels in the United States; and coordinates with related international and foreign language education programs of other Federal agencies, as established in the 2008 Higher Education Opportunity Act. He leads the work of IFLE in administering the domestic programs authorized under Title VI of the Higher Education Act and those overseas programs under the Mutual Educational and Cultural Exchange (Fulbright-Hays) Act administered by ED.

Prior to joining ED, Mohamed served as the Director of Development for the Edmund A. Walsh School of Foreign Service at Georgetown University and also managed the university’s advancement strategy in the Middle East region, where he focused on major gifts and strategic engagement. Previously, while at George Mason University, Mohamed led donor development efforts for the Krasnow Institute for Advanced Study and set international strategy for partnerships in Asia, Europe, the Middle East, and Sub-Saharan Africa. He has advised a variety of clients on organizational strategy, doing business in emerging markets, intercultural communication, and cultural competency in international philanthropy. Additionally, he has advised organizations on strengthening fundraising operations domestically and abroad.

Mohamed speaks fluent Arabic and basic Spanish. He holds a Bachelor’s degree from Clemson University, a Master’s degree in Higher Education from Vanderbilt University, and an MBA from Georgetown University’s McDonough School of Business.


Friday, December 16, 2016 at 08:00 PM · $15.00 USD
Emissary in Washington, DC

2016 YPFP Holiday Party


Join us on December 16 to celebrate a phenomenal 2016! 

We'll be ringing in the holiday season with music, drinks, and friends at Emissary. Come and celebrate with your fellow YPFP members and Women in International Security (WIIS). Cocktail casual attire and holiday cheer desired.

Your first drink is on us! 

Online Advance Tickets: $15

At the Door: $20

YPFP's Refugee Assistance Program (RAP) works to create a social support network of volunteer mentors for recently resettled refugees in the greater Washington, DC area. RAP's resettlement agency partners are collecting new or gently used winter clothing items to ensure all their incoming refugee families are prepared for the coming winter. Suggested donations include sweaters, scarves, hats, boots, and warm socks.


This year's holiday festivities are co-hosted by WIIS! 

logo.png     WIIS_logo_-_high_resolution.jpg


Saturday, December 17, 2016 at 09:30 AM

Volunteer with Wreaths Across America

Each year, volunteers gather at Arlington National Cemetery to Remember and Honor our veterans through the laying of Remembrance wreaths on the graves of our country's fallen heroes. It is a chance to honor those who have given the ultimate sacrifice and YPFP is proud to bring their members to volunteer with others from around the country to honor these brave men and women. 

This event is open to both YPFP members and those interested in joining YPFP. If you are unable to volunteer on the 17th, consider visiting www.wreathsacrossamerica.org to donate a wreath ahead of the ceremony. We look froward to seeing you at Arlington Cemetery.