As a part of its Unification Education activities, North Korea Strategy Center raises South Korean students’ awareness by bringing North Korean refugees to middle and high schools all around South Korea. Since 2011 almost 250 schools have welcomed the organization and hosted its presentations. NKSC is now expanding for the first time to international schools in South Korea.
Indeed, this May NKSC is raising students’ awareness about North Korean human rights issues in three different international schools in South Korea. The organization gave its first one-hour-presentation on May 19th at Cheongna Dalton School in front of 300 international students.
After a short introduction to the North Korean situation, Kim Su-ryun shared stories of her daily life in North Korea and her initial impressions of living in an open, democratic, and capitalist society in South Korea. She also shared her views about North Korea human rights and how she thinks the global community can help bring positive changes to the country.
Kim Su Ryun was born in Chongjin in 1990, part of a Zainichi Korean family which had emigrated to North Korea. While she was exposed to such horrors as public executions as a child, she was also exposed to foreign media and ideas through the North Korean black markets. By the time she defected, Su Ryun was a rebellious youth who often found herself in trouble with the authorities for minor offenses such as wearing jeans. She escaped to South Korea via Mongolia seven years ago and now studies law.
The students were engaged by her remarkable story. Many inquisitive students raised their hands at the Q&A session wanting to know how Su Ryun was able to watch movies, the fate of her family remaining in North Korea, how she earned money when she got to South Korea, and what she and other young North Koreans thought of reunification. Even after the presentation had ended, Su-ryun was met by a host of students who had not been able to speak during the Q&A. Cheongna Dalton’s students left the presentation well-informed and, hopefully, galvanized to take action for North Korean human rights.