Forum – December 14, 2018

Tenzin Dawa Thargay

Interconnectedness: An Interdisciplinary Investigation of South Korean Energy Politics

My research examines energy politics through the intersectional lenses of international relations, political science, anthropology, and geography. Specifically, I am exploring how the two factors of political anchoring—the concept that political party affiliation becomes a cue used to evaluate risk—and the location of South Korean citizens influence their attitudes towards nuclear energy and other energy sources. I am also investigating to what degree geopolitics and international events impacts voter attitudes on energy sources. My research employs a mixed-methods approach of a nationally-distributed survey and interviews with experts and locals.

This 40-minute presentation will begin with a brief survey into the energy landscape of South Korea followed by an introduction to the energy challenges South Korea faces in relation to other Northeast Asian nations. I will then transition to my research project and share my initial progress. The presentation will conclude by discussing the future path of South Korean energy policy, with respect to the recent rapprochement between North Korea and South Korea, and how the geopolitics impacts the relations with Russia and China. There will be 20 minutes for questions from the audience.

Tenzin Dawa Thargay is a first-generation Tibetan American from Boston, MA and 2018 University of Massachusetts Amherst graduate. Thargay has interned with the State Department’s Office of International Religious Freedom as an Annenberg Fellow and with the United States Trade Representative’s Office of China Affairs. He has also studied abroad in Taipei, Taiwan as a Boren Scholar. Thargay is a 2019 Rangel Fellow and will pursue graduate studies next fall after which he will become a U.S. Foreign Service Officer.