Sue Mi Terry

Senior Fellow for Korea Studies

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Expert Bio

Sue Mi Terry is senior fellow for Korea studies at the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR). She researches and writes on policy issues relevant to the Korea Peninsula, U.S.-Korean relations, and security issues in Northeast Asia.

Terry is one of the world’s leading experts on the Korean Peninsula and East Asia, with extensive experience in intelligence, policymaking, academia, and think tanks. She previously served at CFR as a national intelligence fellow from 2010 to 2011.

Terry was most recently director of the Asia program and the Hyundai Motor-Korea Foundation Center for Korean History and Public Policy at the Wilson Center from 2021 to 2023. She was a senior fellow with the Korea chair at the Center for Strategic and International Studies from 2017 to 2021. From 2015 to 2017, she was managing director for Korea at Bower Group Asia. Terry was a senior research scholar at Columbia University’s Weatherhead East Asian Institute from 2011 to 2015.

Terry was deputy national intelligence officer for East Asia at the National Intelligence Council from 2009 to 2010. From 2008 to 2009, she was the director of Korea, Japan, and Oceanic Affairs at the National Security Council under Presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama. Terry served as a senior analyst at the CIA from 2001 to 2008, where she produced hundreds of intelligence assessments.

She has taught at Tufts University, Georgetown University, the Johns Hopkins University’s School of Advanced International Studies, Seoul National University, and the University of Chicago, where she was a 2019 Pritzker Fellow at the Institute of Politics.

Terry is a producer of Beyond Utopia, an acclaimed documentary film about refugees escaping North Korea that won the 2024 DuPont-Columbia Award for excellence in broadcast journalism, was shortlisted for an Academy Award and nominated for a BAFTA Award. She is also co-author of the 2023 book South Korea’s Wild Ride: The Big Shifts in Foreign Policy from 2013 to 2022. She has written numerous articles in prominent publications including Foreign AffairsNew York TimesWashington PostWall Street JournalLos Angeles Times, and Chosun Ilbo.

Terry has testified multiple times before the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives, as well as the U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission. A former MSNBC commentator, she is a regular guest on television, radio, and podcasts, including CNN, ABC, PBS, BBC, and NPR. 

Terry received a BA in political science from New York University and an MA and PhD in international relations from the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University. Born in Seoul and raised in northern Virginia, she now lives with her family in New York City.

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