North Korea Strategy Center has recently set up a sister group, Woorihana (‘We are one’), and has been on a tour of 7 US universities (TUFTS Fletcher School, Boston University, Havard University, Yale University, Colombia University, SAIS (USKI, Sejong society), and Georgetown University)! The campaign, entitled ‘NK Information Highway: Driving change in North Korea’, focused on how information can change the lives of the North Korean people and the importance of the young generation in instigating this change. Woorihana talked about two types of poverty in North Korea: one is the well-known physical poverty produced by the dire economic circumstances that North Koreans face, whilst the second is the intellectual poverty where people have no means to understand the outside world and think for themselves. This intellectual poverty is what Woorihana and NKSC are targeting. Three defectors, Kim Eun Joo, Jeong Gwang Seong, and Park Sejun, talked at each event about their own personal stories, and to what effect external media had on them whilst they were living in North Korea.
After the presentations, there was a Q&A session, where both students and defectors asked each other questions. Students have been quite surprised and intrigued when they hear about Woorihana’s mission, as the topic of human rights in North Korea usually focuses on the pressing economic poverty of North Koreans rather than the intellectual poverty in the country. During the Q&A students asked intelligent questions about the security of the media content, the experiences of defectors adapting to life in South Korea, and how the American public can engage more with North Korea human rights.
Afterwards, there was a networking session where students had the chance to directly talk to the speakers, and Eun Joo speedily made some delicious rice-cakes to share with the attendees. North Korean sweets brought straight from our contacts in North Korea were also given out to the eager attendees. Finally, students were asked to write on a sticky note what they will do for North Korea human rights or what type of content they wished to send to North Korea.
All in all we received tons of positive feedback and are really happy that the tour was successful! Visit our new Woorihana Facebook page and website to see more pictures and information!