Kayla T. Orta is the Program Assistant for the History and Public Policy Program (HAPP) at the Woodrow Wilson Center and works closely with the North Korea International Documentation Project (NKIDP). She has always held a great passion for North-South Korean relations and more broadly for foreign language and culture studies. Selected as a 2013 NSEP Boren Scholar, she traveled to South Korea for 6 months intensive study of Korean language and North-South Korean socio-political relations. While in South Korea, she conducted extensive research on President Park Geun-hye’s Trustpolitik initiative, interviewing 170+ university students’ public opinion on North Korea.

Orta holds dual B.A. degrees in  International Studies and Individualized/Interdisciplinary Studies from Miami University in Oxford, Ohio.  During her time at Miami, she studied 6 different languages: German, Korean, Chinese, Ancient Greek, Russian, and Spanish. Her principal research areas include socio-cultural linguistics and linguistic identity studies, East Asian international politics, North Korean historical development, and North-South Korean relations.

Working with declassified Stasi reports, her most recent research explores East German-North Korean relations in the 1980s and the role of secret informants (inoffizielle Mitarbeiter, IMs) as individuals skillfully bridging difference between cultures, languages, and politics.