One of the most inspiring headliners for the upcoming 2015 International Students For Liberty Conference on February 13th-15th is Yeon-mi Park, a 21-year-old woman who escaped North Korea seven years ago and this year has been able to tell her story on a grand scale.
Yeon-mi Park enjoyed a rich lifestyle by North Korean standards for much of her life, but after her father was imprisoned for selling items to China, Yeon-mi was forced to move out of Pyongyang. She escaped to China with her family after her father’s release and was under constant threat of persecution until she made her way to the capitol of Mongolia, carrying only a compass and a razor blade in case her case for asylum didn’t work out. The small group she traveled with knew that they would not be able to return to North Korea.
Yeon-mi is part of a generation in North Korea that can’t remember a time when the government provided for its people. This generation has very little, if any, loyalty to the Kim regime. At the Students for Liberty International Summit, she will speak on this “Black Market Generation,” including their views on North Korea and the outside world, and their increasing consumption of foreign media.
Now living in Seoul, Yeon-mi studies criminal justice at Dongguk University. Since her freshman year, she has given speeches in both Korean and English to middle school- and high school-aged children about North Korea. Like another speaker for the conference, Joo Yang, she also participates in “Now on My Way to Meet You,” a television program that features North Korean women. After graduating, Yeon-mi hopes to complete her master’s degree in International Relations in the United States with further ambitions of working with the United Nations and other organizations to spread awareness of North Korean human rights issues.
Check out the links below to learn more about Park’s activism:
This post was adapted from its original post by Kelly Barber on the Students for Liberty blog.