Our Team

Our Organizational Structure


Our management team is comprised of part-time volunteers and full-time staff (based primarily in Beijing/Singapore) with a deep interest and commitment to Korean issues. Choson Exchange is overseen by a Board of Directors, who ensure adequate governance controls and certify our audited financial statements. The board appoints the management team. Workshop leaders volunteer with us to lead workshops in North Korea, prepare educational materials for North Koreans, or take an active role mentoring North Koreans in our international programs outside of North Korea. Our Board of Advisors also support us with strategic advice and relationships.

Choson Exchange is incorporated as a non-profit.

Our Executive Team

Geoffrey K. See | Managing Director, Founder & Board Chairman Geoffrey previously worked for Bain & Co. on private equity, technology and retail cases. He also analyzed economic and political events for the ex-Asia Chief Economist of Société Générale and served in the Singapore Armed Forces. He also sits on the board of a listed Mongolian company in the energy sector. As a Research Affiliate at MIT ('12-'13) and a University Fellow at Yale University ('09-'10), Geoffrey pursued research in entrepreneurship, development and ethics. He presented papers as an award winner at the World Bank ABCDE, $20,000 Cosgrove Prize and APEC CEO Summit. Geoffrey graduated in 2 years with a B.Sc. in Economics (Summa Cum Laude) from the University of Pennsylvania's Wharton School, and completed an M.A. at Yale University. Geoffrey has lived in Singapore, China, Korea and the US and is fluent in Chinese and proficient in Korean.

Andray Abrahamian | Executive Director Andray became interested in Korea issues following a trip to the DMZ in 2003. This inspired an MA in International Relations from the University of Sussex. Upon completion, he started pursuing a PhD focusing on Western media and images of North Korea. Andray also taught international relations at the University of Ulsan. He has published various academic and op-ed articles and been solicited to offer commentary by international news broadcasting organizations. His academic interests include intercultural relations, post-colonialism, Orientalisms, hegemony and US-East Asian relations. Andray speaks Korean.

Hong Mu Song | Consultant, Head of Pyongyang Office Hong is a graduate of Kim Il Sung University’s prestigious political economy department. Over the course of his career, he has actively promoted exchanges on a broad range of fields covering disaster relief, aid, business, economics and law with partners in government, civil society and party positions. He has had good experiences with Chinese and Russians.

Desmond Lim | Associate (Part-time) Desmond became interested in North Korea after a trip to the DMZ, and started volunteering at Choson Exchange since. He has worked in investment banking for UBS and Bank of America Merrill Lynch in Singapore, Thailand, Malaysia, Brunei, Philippines, South Korea and China, focusing on raising capital for financial institutions and state-owned entities. While serving in the Singapore Armed Forces, Desmond was a Full Lieutenant commissioned by the President of Singapore, and cross-trained in Brunei and Taiwan. He has also represented the Singapore National Team in basketball at the Southeast Asia Youth Games. Desmond graduated from Singapore Management University on a full university scholarship, completing both a Bachelor of Accountancy and a Bachelor of Business Management in four years. He is currently on leave studying for his MPP at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government.

Our Volunteer Team

Nils Weisensee | Entrepreneurship Programs Shanghai-based German entrepreneur

Ryan Russell | Secretary (CE Inc.), Resident Representative (Seoul) Corporate lawyer, JD (Columbia Law School)

Bing Han | Singapore Programs Hedge Fund Analyst, M.A. New York University

Shawn Zhu | Singapore Programs MBA, National University of Singapore (ongoing)

Joe Hong | Strategy Investment banker in Hong Kong, MBA (Harvard Business School)

Calvin Chua | Design Architect, RIBA (Part II), Architectural Association London

Myung Eun | Communications Private Equity, M.A. John Hopkins SAIS

James Liu | Projects Management Associate at top technology firm, B.Sc. University of Pennsylvania, Wharton School

Grace Chung | Projects Consultant, MPP Harvard Kennedy School of Government


Our Workshop Leaders

Workshop leaders are volunteers who have a curiosity or passion for North Korean issues with an interest in giving back to society through sharing their economic policy-making or business experience. They help develop our content strategy, produce research on North Korea's economic and business environment and conduct workshops for North Koreans inside and outside of North Korea. Our workshop leaders are typically economic or business environment policy-makers, successful entrepreneurs, senior managers, management consultants, bankers or private equity investors who volunteer in their private capacity. They range from Chairman-level people or ex-Ministers to mid-career professionals.

Board of Advisors

Audit & Governance Committee Seung-Hee Nah (Member of the Board of Directors) Seung Hee, until her retirement in 2009, spent 23 years at the International Finance Corporation, a member of the World Bank Group. Ms. Nah analyzed and processed new investment projects in East Asia in the mid-1990s, coordinated IFC’s response to the 1998 financial crisis in Korea and formulated the Health and Education Department’s development strategy for East Asia. She also worked on the IFC’s private university initiative in Cambodia and managed work-out cases in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Jordan, Mexico, and Egypt. Ms. Nah is currently Chairperson of the Board of Directors of KASM (Korean American Sharing Movement). Seung Hee holds an MBA and a BBA from the George Washington University in Washington, DC.

External Programs Committee

Peter Drysdale Peter Drysdale is Emeritus Professor of Economics and a Visiting Fellow in the Crawford School of Economics and Government at The Australian National University. He is Head of Australia’s East Asia Forum. He is widely recognised as the leading intellectual architect of APEC. He is recipient of the Asia Pacific Prize, the Weary Dunlop Award, the Japanese Order of the Rising Sun with Gold Rays and Neck Ribbon, the Australian Centenary Medal and he is a member of the Order of Australia. Peter used to oversee Australia's economic training programs for North Koreans under 35 in the early 2000s.

Manu Bhaskaran Manu is principal and CEO in Centennial Asia Advisors, a strategic advisor on policy and corporate issues. Manu spent 20 years analyzing political and economic trends in Asia, first for the Singapore Ministry of Defense in the area of regional security and then for 12 years as Chief Economist and Chief Strategist for Asia of SG Investment Bank, the international investment banking arm of Societe Generale. He is a frequent speaker on Asian issues at the World Economic Forum and similar events. Although Mr Bhaskaran left service with the Singapore government in 1989, he has continued to participate in several governmental initiatives. He is also on the board of a listed Singapore government-owned company and is a Council Member of the Singapore Institute of International Affairs. He has also served as a Visiting Fellow at the Institute of Policy Studies, a Singapore think tank. Mr Bhaskaran has a MPA from the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University and a B.A. in economics from Cambridge University.

Finance Committee

John Y. Kim (Member of the Board of Directors) Prior to his current role as Managing Partner at Amasia Associates, John served as Senior Vice President at Mercuria Energy Group and as Executive Director at Goldman Sachs in Singapore. Before moving to the Lion City, John was a Fund Manager at Korean National Investments in Seoul. He started his career in technology, first founding music internet and e-consulting companies before joining Merck & Co as a System Specialist. John also spent time as a professional musician, touring across the United States and recording with top artists in Korea including Bobby Kim, Drunken Tiger and Yang Dong Geun. John also received a platinum record for his album contribution with Grammy award winner Brandy. He is an award winning public speaker, published author and regular television contributor. John is a Term Member at the Council on Foreign Relations and attended the University of Pennsylvania, where he received a Bachelor of Science in Economics from the Wharton School and a Bachelor of Applied Science from the School of Engineering.

Namuh Rhee (Member of the Board of Directors) Namuh Rhee is a Singaporean citizen and CFO of Taurus Investment, a Korea-based investment bank. He was the former Managing Director for Asia Pacific at Bank of America Merrill Lynch. Prior to joining BOA-ML, he was a founding partner of Rhee Capital, an Asia-focused hedge fund, non-executive director and Member of the Board of Directors at Citibank Korea, Managing Director at Samsung Securities and Vice-President at JP Morgan. Namuh has an MBA from the University of Chicago Graduate School of Business and a B.A. in Economics from Seoul National University.

Matthew Hosford Matthew Hosford is a Managing Director in Banco Santander Asia. His functional role is that of Chief Risk Officer for the Asia Pacific region. He oversees all aspects of credit risk, market risk and liquidity risk for the Asia operations of the group in the region. Prior to his current position, he served as a Director in the Financial Institutions Risk Management Advisory Practice in PricewaterhouseCoopers (Hong Kong / Beijing) where he was involved in advisory projects primarily focused on risk management and governance matters for banks in China/Hong Kong, Korea and Indonesia. Mr. Hosford holds a Master of Business Administration from Harvard University.

North Korea Analysis Committee

Katharina Zellweger Katharina Zellweger has been the Pantech Fellow in Korean Studies at the Walter H. Shorenstein Asia-Pacific Research Center at Stanford University since 2011. She has over 30 years of field experience in Hong Kong, China and North Korea. Zellweger lived and worked in Pyongyang for five years (2006-2011) as the North Korea country director for the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC). Before joining SDC, Zellweger worked for almost 30 years for the Catholic agency Caritas in Hong Kong where she developed pioneering Caritas involvement in China and in North Korea. Zellweger received the Bishop Tji Hak-soon Justice and Peace Award from a South Korean foundation established to promote social justice, and the Dame of St. Gregory the Great from the Vatican for her work in North Korea.

Jean-Jacques Grauhar Jean-Jacques is the Secretary General of the European Union Chamber of Commerce in Korea (EUCCK) and co-President of the Europe-Korea Foundation(EKF). He has been living in Seoul for the last 15 years and was previously working in Pyongyang for 7 years as a business consultant. In 2002, Jean-Jacques and Park Geun Hye visited Pyongyang as head of an Europe-Korea Foundation delegation. He is especially interested in supporting North Korea's economic integration into the global economy.

Andrei Lankov Andrei is a Professor at Kookmin University and is considered to be a foremost expert on North Korea in Western Countries. He has written articles for the Council of Foreign Relations' Foreign Affairs magazine and published several books on North Korea.

Curtis Melvin A founder of NKeconwatch and doctoral candidate in economics at George Mason University, Curtis is a pioneer in the use of Google Maps in the study of North Korea. He brings with him an encyclopedic knowledge of North Korean institutions which aids us in our survey work.

Tony Michell Tony is a Seoul-based British entrepreneur and pioneer for early Korean development with over 28 years of experience in economic, political and business developments in North East Asia and expertise in corporate restructuring for bankrupt enterprises. He is the founder of Euro-Asian Business Consultancy (EABC) and Korea Associates Business Consulting (KABC), advising foreign companies on business strategy for both Koreas and the region. In the 1990s, Dr. Michell was awarded the Order of Friendship by the DPRK government for his humanitarian efforts in persuading a large pharmaceutical manufacturer to provide essential medical supplies during the period of hardship.