Randall Ireson, 1945-2017

November 17, 2017 4:30 PM

It is with sadness that we received news of the death of Randall Ireson. Trained at Cornell in development sociology, he became a pioneer in US humanitarian work with North Korea; I met him through the National Committee on North Korea. Randy was among the most dedicated and insightful analysts of the agricultural sector in North Korea. He always took a broad perspective that was not simply economic but included an appreciation of policy, incentives, and the rural social structure. If you want a good introduction to the bewildering topic of North Korean agricultural reform under Kim Jong Un, you can do no better than scrolling through the archive of his posts at 38North.org. A testament to his work is that younger scholars have picked up the challenge. See for example thoughtful work in the same vein by Andy Dinville, predicting hardship this fall as a result of the drought, and Benjamin Katzeff Silberstein on the puzzling stability of rice prices. Ireson would be proud.


Walter Keats

Thanks for highlighting the great work and humanity that was Randy Ireson.  He will be missed.

Mark Manyin

I was so saddened to see the news about Randy.  He was a go-to source on so many issues, especially North Korean agriculture, and a gentleman to boot.  We'll miss you, Randy!

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Stephan Haggard Senior Research Staff