Yun, Philip

Jonathan Visbal, Chairman of the Board of World Affairs, announced the appointment of Philip Yun as President and Chief Executive Officer effective October 7, 2019. “Philip’s appointment represents an exciting chapter in the life of World Affairs, and reflects its commitment to building dialog and community across the various sectors – something that is key to our mission,” said Visbal, who led the search in conjunction with the CEO Succession Committee. “Ours is an organization that began when the United Nations was born, right here in San Francisco, out of a hunger for public conversation about our role in the world. It has since become a vibrant forum for the discussion and debate of the important issues of the day,” said Visbal. “Philip has worked in the private sector, the public sector and the philanthropic sector, making him the ideal leader for World Affairs.”


Until recently, Philip Yun was Executive Director and Chief Operating Officer of Ploughshares Fund. Prior to joining Ploughshares Fund, he was a vice president at The Asia Foundation (2005-2011), a Pantech Scholar in Korean Studies at the Shorenstein Asia Pacific Research Center at Stanford University (2004-2005) and a vice president at the private equity firm of H&Q Asia Pacific (2001-2004).


Mr. Yun was a presidential appointee at the U.S. Department of State (1994-2001), serving as Senior Advisor to the Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific Affairs.  During this time, he also worked as a senior advisor to two U.S. Coordinators for North Korea Policy — former Secretary of Defense William J. Perry and former Under Secretary of State Wendy Sherman.  Mr. Yun was a member of a government working-group that managed U.S. policy and negotiations with North Korea under President Clinton and was part of the U.S. delegation that traveled to North Korea with Secretary of State Madeline Albright in October 2000.


Prior to government service, Mr. Yun practiced law at the firms of Pillsbury Madison & Sutro in San Francisco and Garvey Schubert & Barer in Seattle. He also was a foreign legal consultant at the firm of Shin & Kim in Seoul, Korea.


Mr. Yun’s writings and commentary have appeared on CNN, The Hill, Foreign, AP TV, Fox News, National Public Radio, NBC, U.S. News and World Report, and the Los Angeles Times, among others. He is the co-editor of a book entitled, North Korea and Beyond (2006).


Mr. Yun attended Brown University (magna cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa) and the Columbia University School of Law. He was a Fulbright Scholar to Korea. He is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations and member of the Board of Overseers for Brown University’s Watson Institute for International Studies.


“I am honored to have the opportunity to lead World Affairs, and I am very much looking forward to building an even stronger sense of community among the organization’s board, staff, partners and supporters,” says Yun. “Given the San Francisco Bay Area’s growing prominence as a global center of technology, innovation, economic growth and social change, the ideas, policies and actions that emanate from the Bay Area will increasingly influence and shape world events.  Together, with pointed questions about the nature of American leadership internationally, the work of World Affairs — to convene, connect, and educate and to be a catalyst for creative, concrete, material action – is more critical than ever.”


Yun will succeed Jane Wales who stepped down after 21 years as CEO to join the Aspen Institute as Vice President.


According to Jonathan Visbal, “We owe a debt of gratitude to Jane Wales for having built our capacity, our reputation and our reach. She modernized our organization and energized our community, not only by attracting world leaders but also by drawing into our community Silicon Valley leaders who have been the architects of the information age. She created opportunities to translate thought into action by founding of the North America Forum, and later the Global Philanthropy Forum. And she and her colleagues expanded our global reach by seeding GPF affiliates in Latin America and Africa. While World Affairs has always provided a home for policymakers seeking to gauge citizen reactions, our community has grown to include change makers from all backgrounds and perspectives.  Most importantly, she established as its priority the effort to combat polarization and division with respectful conversations across difference.”


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