Let’s meet at the National Assembly on March 20! The largest gathering of volunteers coming together to find ways to help North Korean refugees.

I conceived workshops as to-be-continued conversations. Last Monday we started one and I committed myself to keep it alive.

Here I am to talk you about a new chance to have a deeper understanding about North Korea, North Korean refugees and to learn about opportunities for you to get directly involved.

Please, join Teach North Korean Refugees, Justice for North Korea and Transitional Justice Working Group for the largest gathering of volunteers coming together to find ways to help North Koreans and North Korean refugees.

This event is scheduled for March 20 at the National Assembly of South Korea, from 1 to 6 PM. Here you will find the step by step directions to the 3/20 International Volunteers Workshop

Casey Lartigue is leading this interesting workshop. Do not miss it!

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From 1-6 PM

Casey Lartigue:

“If you have been thinking about getting involved with helping North Korean refugees then here’s your chance. After this workshop is over, you will have a deeper understanding about North Korea, North Korean refugees and to learn about opportunities for you to get directly involved.

* Andrei Lankov, author of The Real North Korea, has confirmed he will deliver the keynote address. This will be a great chance to hear from and talk with someone who has been studying about North Korea for almost three decades.

* We also have two North Korean refugees scheduled to speak at the workshop. One of them was the winner of the third English speech contest hosted by TNKR.

* You will also get to hear directly from representatives of several NGOs actively involved with helping North Korean refugees in Seoul and other places around the world.

You can reserve a space here and the updates will post them here“.

I will be there too!

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Speakers For Freedom. Voices that enlightened us about North Koreans and North Korean Refugees.

On Monday, February 29th we undertook an unforgettable journey in Hillside Residence. A panel of both wise and generous speakers brought us to earth and helped us to understand what it means to live under the most repressive totalitarian regime today; how we can fight it and turn into North Korean Refugees Allies!

Far From Heaven Banner February 29th

These were our Guest Speakers

Far From Heaven Schedule Program February 29th

This was our Program.

I wish to express my deepest gratitude to all these great speakers. Thank you, guys!

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From right to left: Kris Moon, Rachel Stine, Yeongnam Eom, Casey Lartigue and me!

Sunghoon Kris Moon

Sunghoon Kris Moon is a Korean American who has lived, educated and worked both in Korea and the US. She has been a North Korea watcher for almost twenty years ever since she first encountered the conditions of North Korean famine in 1997.

Since then she has been keeping her eyes on North Korea through working with various think tanks/non-profit organizations such as the Institute for Strategic Reconciliation, the United States Institute of Peace, and The Korea Society as well as studies focused on international relations surrounding North Korea and nation-building potentials for post-unification (when it finally happens!) with special interest in equitable urban and social development. She currently serves as Special Linguistic Consultant to Chang Joon Kim, former US Congressman and current advisor to the South Korean President Park Geun Hye on political economy issues.

Yeongnam Eom

Yeongnam Eom, or Ken as he likes to be called, escaped from North Korea in 2010 after serving ten years in the North Korean military. Upon completing his military service, he was unable to get a job because his family was missing, presumed defected. His ten years of loyalty was rewarded with unemployment and suspicion. Soon after defecting, Ken spent three years in Canada. He returned to South Korea in early 2014 and joined Teach North Korean Refugees soon after, later becoming Special Ambassador. Since then, Ken has been actively sharing his story and experiences through interviews, speeches, and presentations. He is now a Special Ambassador to the North Korean Refugee Education Center at American Orientalism University.

Casey Lartigue

Casey Lartigue, Jr., joined Atlas Network as a fellow in December 2013. He lives in South Korea, where he is the co-founder of Teach North Korean Refugees. In South Korea, he is also the director for international relations for the newly established Freedom Factory Co. Ltd., the international adviser to the Mulmangcho School (for adolescent North Korean refugees) in Yeoju, South Korea, and a columnist with the Korea Times. He is also a member of the Board of Trustees of the Frederick Douglass Memorial and Historical Association in Washington, D.C.

He was previously a policy analyst with the Cato Institute’s Center for Educational Freedom in Washington, D.C., and hosted “The Casey Lartigue Show” on XM Radio 169 The Power. He is a former member of the Board of Directors of the Black Alliance for Educational Options and a former member of the Young Executive Network of the Washington Scholarship Fund. He is co-editor of the book Educational Freedom in Urban America. Lartigue received a bachelor’s degree from the Harvard University Extension School and a master’s degree from the Harvard University Graduate School of Education.

Support TNKR (Teach North Korean Refugees): http://teachnorthkoreanrefugees.org/support-tnkr-2/

More about Casey Lartigue and TNKR:  The interview and About TNKR

Rachel Stine

Rachel Stine is a nonprofit finance professional with seven years’ experience. In both New York and Seoul, she has managed large-scale budgets, trained canvassing teams, and written marketing content for nonprofit organizations.

In telefunding, she has spearheaded projects exceeding $100,000 USD. With past clients including the ACLU, Liberty in North Korea, and the Metropolitan Opera, she now works on the North Korean underground railroad system that transports refugees into free countries. Her long-term goal is to use her skills to advance human rights in North Korea.

 

We Are Korean Women and Hansan Sogokju.

We are Korean Women

On Thursday, May 7th we celebrated another #WMLABTALKS event, our inspirational thought-provoking lectures. WE ARE KOREAN WOMEN!

Along with Hye-Rim Kwon, a Korean journalist, we talked tête à tête about how Korean women view their past and face modernity.

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Hye Rim and her friends.

This was our plan for the day and sticked to it quite enough.

Our Schedule Program for the day.

The first thing was the coffee mingle and taste the traditional Spanish tapa pantumaca, a Catalonian breakfast or snack. People loved this simple but tasty Spanish dish.

You might be surprised by the name, “The Spanish FIKA” but there is a sentimental story behind. FIKA was our first #wmlabtalk and we liked very much this unique Swedish coffee break that we wanted to pay tribute to it by named it like that.

After we recharged our batteries it was time to get inspired…

We began our presentation. We talked about women, about Korean women and Korean Women’s greatest achievements. We talked about democracy, gender equality and the increase of women’s power in Korean society.

Important Korean Women

However we wanted not only to celebrate Korean Women’s achievements but to go just a little more further. More than spectators we wanted women to interact and discuss. We intended so to set a female-focused collective dialogue to break down stereotypes and go beyond clichés. It was difficult though, always is.

 

We thought that the only way to do it properly was through a “World Café” dynamic.

The World Café.

According to Wikipedia, the “World Café” is a structured conversational process that fosters an open and intimate discussion and link ideas within a larger group to get access to the “collective intelligence” in the room.

In World Café the focus is on exploring on themes and not on problem-solving and that was what we were after for: to enrich our perspective on Korean Women and give a certain basis for a further intimate reflection.

Small groups of six or seven participants sat around the tables and discussed open-ended questions for a structured amount of time. Individuals switched tables where a “table host” at the new table briefly welcomed people and filled them in on highlights of the earlier discussion.

In this way participants gather a wide range of inputs that help strengthen the ‘ecology’ of the conversation.

The world café session

These were our questions…

Korea has come so far in fifty years, how have women driven that growth?; What are the challenges that women face in Korean society?; What are the challenges that South Korean Women will face in the future?

I think that this World Café was able to deepen the discussion about being a woman in South Korea and maybe widen our viewpoints.

After the World Café, Hye-Rim Kwon taught us about the Sogokju, the Korean 1500 year old beverage and its legend around…

The story of Sogokju. “A long time ago, during the Joseon Dynasty a man who was on his way to Seoul to take a state exam , stopped at a tavern…”

After the storytelling we toasted with Sogokju and we could not find a better closure for our workshop than to read, both in Korean and in English, some excerpts of Simcheongjeon a story of Korean Pansori storytelling tradition.

Hye and I asked people to put on sleep masks… and then, with Simcheongjeon’s own words: we asked people to remove their masks and open their mind and their heart…

Simcheong is a girl whose mother died in childbirth. She cares for her blind father… She is the perfect model of Confucian devotion…We found interested to end with this story and use her “own” words to foster our imagination, forgetting about the story and focusing on the philosophical message.

 

 

 

The Grand Narrative

We are Korean Women WomenlabkoreaI’ve been asked to pass on the following:

*******WOMENLABKOREA is a creative space to test ideas, initiatives, and projects, a space to co-create, to co-design and prototype with other women, a supportive space where risks can be taken.

WOMENLABKOREA is about social innovation, empowerment and entrepreneurship!

The purpose is to help women step out of their comfort zones to improve their lives and the lives of women around them.

Next Thursday, May 7th we are hosting another #WMLABTALK called “We are Korean Women.”

We have conceived of these #WMLABTALKS as events where we can share and understand more about our lives; events to discover more about our wishes and hopes.

We wanted to create a space where women can speak freely and be ready to challenge stereotypes.

Furthermore, we wanted to dedicate a time to celebrate us, to celebrate women’s rhythms and women’s vision of…

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Korea meets Spain: labs to dive deeper into the Spanish food and culture.

There is not just one Spain but many. Spain is diverse and there are surprising attractions at every turn. Korea meets Spain wishes to show up different elements about the Spanish food and culture as well as to look beyond the Spanish clichés of siesta, sangría, paella or matadors.

Seoul Forest Sculpture by the Spanish artist Jaume Plensa.

Thursday, April 16th

Cocido madrileño (Madrilenian stew) 스페인 마드리드 지역의 코씨도 요리

Description:

A Spanish4FunCooking Lab event. Cocido is a traditional chickpea based stew from Madrid that dates back to the middle Ages. Fragrant and substantial, Cocido is prepared with meat and vegetables and arrives at the table in three courses, known as tres vuelcos. The broth with noodles precedes the legumes and vegetables, which in turn set the stage for the meat.

The audience will enjoy a breathtaking view to Seoul’s skyline in a 250 m2 empty flat only furnished with the perfect table to enhance this Womenlabkorea Luncheon. We will cook the Cocido’s recipe and while our stew is over the flames we will make a virtual trip to The Madrid of the Spanish Habsburgs, known as “the Austrians” in Spanish and will admire the Plaza Mayor, silent witness of bullfights, executions, and coronations.

When overwhelmed by the echoes of the secret culinary life of the crypto-Jews back in the 16th century, a solo violin by Sammy Park will set the stage for the three vuelcos.

Schedule: 9:30AM- 12:15PM

Venue: Hillside Residence

Cocido Madrileño Cocido MadrileñoThursday, April 23rd

Hallyu to Spain.

Description:

A #WMLABTALKS event. Inspirational thought provoking lectures. We will talk about the future of work and the key shifts that women can make to prepare themselves to a future-proof career. Example of both personal and professional reinvention, we will interview the Spanish blogger Mónica García Cabello.

Through her blog (withoutbabymonsters), Mónica García brings the South Korea popular culture to the Spanish audience. She lives in Seoul and loves it. Gifted with a voracious curiosity, every very week she goes in the search of the unexpected city, that she watches, explores and tells us about as soon as her “baby monsters” are Where the Wild Things Are

Schedule: 10:00-12:00

Venue: Hillside Residence

#WMLABTALKS Thursday, May 7th

WE ARE KOREAN WOMEN

Description:

A #WMLABTALKS event. Inspirational thought provoking lectures.

A Korean journalist, Hye-Rim Kwon and Ana Dols, the Spanish catalyst of  WOMENLABKOREA, will talk tête à tête about how do Korean women look at their past and face modernity. WE ARE KOREAN WOMEN will be a female-focused collective dialogue to challenge stereotypes and clichés about being a woman in South Korea.

We will practise yogalates with Uliana Golovko and we will taste our SpanishFIKA” -we like the idea of Swedish FIKA but we fuse it with  the signature pan tumaca Catalonian breakfast or snack-. Finally we will discover Sogokjuand we’ll taste it!-, the 1500 year old beverage, and be captured by Simcheongjeon, a story of the Korean Pansori storytelling tradition. More than a workshop, WE ARE KOREAN WOMEN will be a celebration.

Schedule: 9:30 AM-12:15 PM

Venue: Hillside Residence

We are Korean Women We are Korean Women(4)Monday, May 26

Chocolate con churros (the popular “churros” snack). 마드리드와 오리지널 초코라떼   추러스를 맛보세요

Description:

A Spanish4Fun-Cooking Lab event. Churros, the Spanish fried-dough pastry, are already part of the mainstream Seoulite culture, where there are currently 21 franchise churro brands, 17 of them registered last year. Churros are the quintessential Madrilenian breakfast. Either thin (or sometimes knotted) or long and thick, they are eaten dipped in hot chocolate or café con leche. The recipe in hand, we will be making our own churros and dunk them in a very thick chocolate -the authentic one- dip. And while we indulge ourselves with this popular snack, we will discover the controversial history of churros’ origin, the Latin American variations of the churros, or where to have the best chocolate con churros in Madrid, a city made for foodies.

Schedule: 13:30 AM-15:30

Venue: Seorae Global Village Center 서울글로벌센터 – 서울특별시

CHOCOLATE CON CHURROS in KoreanCHOCOLATE CON CHURROSMonday, June 9th

Paella Valenciana

Description:

A Spanish4Fun-Cooking Lab event. The worldwide-known Paella is a blend of savors and colors from the Mediterranean Sea. The origins of this iconic dish are humble, Paella was originally farmers’ and farm laborers’ food, cooked over a wood fire for the lunchtime meal and traditionally eaten straight from the pan. It was made with rice, plus whatever ingredients were to hand around the rice fields and countryside (the so-called Huerta). We will try the original Paella Valenciana Recipe and travel to Valencia, whose sunlight was the painter Joaquín Sorolla’s inspiration.

Schedule: 13:30 -15:30

Venue: Seorae Global Village Center 서울글로벌센터 – 서울특별시

PAELLA WORKSHOP POSTER 2015 09 JUN(1)Thursday, May 28th

Survival Spanish. Spanish smarts for smart tourists.

Description:

A Spanish4Fun event. Five sessions to help participants to navigate their way through some common scenarios (at the airport, traveling around the city, at the bank, in a restaurant, …), whether they are in Spain or Latin America. Survival Spanish will be useful either to brush up on the Spanish participants already know, or to learn all the useful words and expressions they will need for their trip. We will learn Spanish smarts about the Spanish language, social life and culture.

Timetable: May 28th, June 4th 11th 18th 25th

Schedule: 10:00 AM-11:00AM

Venue: Hillside Residence

Survival Spanish 16 oAre you ready to be surprised?.