Thanks for Being an Ally! Look at what you’ve accomplished for North Korean Refugees.

On Monday, February 29th, we celebrated our latest women lab talk in Hillside Residence:

Far From Heaven. The Unspeakable Lives of North Korean Refugees.

Far From Heaven Banner February 29th

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Introducing the workshop and testing the energy level! We started with some great energy but I saw it increased!

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Kris Moon speaking.

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Casey Lartigue speaking.

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Yeongnam Eom or Ken, as he likes to be called, speaking.

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Rachel Stine speaking.

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The whole panel answering people’s questions.

We were more than 44 people and started a fruitful conversation about North Korea, North Korean Refugees and how we could help them to find their way and make them more powerful.

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From right to left, Mallory Gleizer, Casey Lartigue, Kris Moon and me.

Moved by solidarity, we met, we learned, we ate (Spanish Food!) and we shared. 

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I made three Spanish Tortillas for this special occasion. I made Gazpacho too.

We shared indeed and look at what you’ve accomplished for North Korean Refugees: 1,000,000 Won has been raised!!

You did it! You did it and the credit for it all belongs to you! (You did it, “My Fair Lady”, by  Alan Jay Lerner & Frederick Loewe).

We truly could not have accomplished it without your active support. 

I have already transferred all your donations and I am sure they will make a huge impact.

THANK YOU. 

A 500,000 Won donation went to Rachel Stine (Helping Hands Korea). They will use it for refugee rescues.

A 500,000 Won donation went to Teach North Korean Refugees. They will give 100,000 Won to Ken and 400,000 Won will help refugees with resettlement and language classes.

I would like to finish this entry by mentioning Casey Lartigue‘s lovely words which make the perfect colophon:

“Yesterday I spoke at a fantastic event organized by Ana Dols. I met her on Feb 2 when I was a featured speaker at an event introducing (TNKR) Teach North Korean Refugees to the American Women’s Club.

I said then during Q&A: I hope this will be a movement rather than a moment. At the end of the event, Ana told me that she wanted to invite me to speak at an event.

27 days later, I was speaking at a Women Lab Korea event. Ana is a newcomer to NK refugee issues, but she organized a really smart panel.

Sunghoon Kris Moon to give an overview about North Korea.
Ken Eom to discuss his own escape from North Korea and his adjustment.
Casey Lartigue to discuss the way (TNKR) Teach North Korean Refugees(now the North Korean Refugee Education Center at AOU) helps North Korean refugees improve themselves.
Rachel Stine to discuss rescuing North Koreans trying to escape to freedom.

I learned some things and also had some things I already knew shaken from the cobwebs in the archives of my mind. I have now given so many speeches that I am ready to get to Q&A to hear what people think. Of course many audiences want to talk about titillating stories about the leaders of the NK regime, I try to be patient, count to 10, remember there was a day I was in their shoes, then answer while trying to encourage them to think about something practical they can do.

It seemed that I had a connection with many people in the room. Sunghoon Kris Moon showed one of Yeonmi Park‘s speeches. Of course, Yeonmi was Ambassador of TNKR and we hosted a podcast together. And we discovered some personal connections.

Rachel Stine was one of the volunteer tutors back when I was the International Adviser to the Mulmangcho School.

Several of our current and past volunteers were at the session. Peter Daley is Mr. Reliable, coming to many of our events in addition to being a tutor and coach in our program. Renee Cummins remains one of our biggest cheerleaders. Eileen Chong has kind of snuck up on me, coming to many of our events, being a coach in our program, helping us with graphics.

Many others. But the woman of the hour was Ana Dols. I meet many people at events who say they want to organize an event. There is a lot of happy talk at events, with people saying they will do one thing or another, then when they leave the event, it seems they forget to do most of what they have said. But not Ana. She followed through, kept the speakers updated, then she got it done! Don’t call her a by-stander!”

 Once again, thank you!
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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!

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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.

 

Far From Heaven. The Unspeakable Lives of North Korean People

Next February 29th you are invited to a new womenlabtalk! (Hillside Venue Directions, Registration and Schedule Program). Join our Facebook event

Far From Heaven Banner February 29th

For most people North Korea remains a mystery. “Far From Heaven, The Unspeakable Lives of North Korean People”, is a workshop to explore what North Korea is and what it’s like to be a North Korean. 

In addition to that, we wish to contribute to change the victim-focused approach and fixed mindsets about North Korean Defectors and Refugees. We would like to emphasize on post-resettlement success stories, rather than to show them as symbols of evil.

“We must also free refugees from stereotypes so they can fulfill the promise of their own, singular lives” (Rachel Stine, The Stereotype of the Damaged North Korean Is Demeaning

“Generally, people think of North Korea merely as our enemy or a people to pity;” “We are trying to change this, looking at North Korea as two entirely different entities: its citizens and its government.” (Jun Young Ji,  for The Daily Dot).

You are invited to visit our board on Pinterest for additional background information.

SOOHEE KIM PRESENTATION 1

My name is Ana Dols and live in Seoul. I am the womenlabkorea catalyst and my goal is to use women’s collective intelligence as a driver to generate some impact in their lives and in the lives of women around them.

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Women taking part in “Eating by Design. Spanish Food Culture”.

Three days ago I got a message from Rachel Stine that made me happy:

“The refugee you donated towards in December (and that you helped fund) was a middle-aged mother.  She has arrived safely in Southeast Asia and (thanks to you) will be processed so she can come to South Korea with her family”.

I met Rachel at a Siwa Coffee Morning in October 2015and since then I have hosted two workshops (“Eating by Design” and “Soohee Kim. Daejanggeum and “the Impossible Country”) and donated all proceeds to programs supporting North Korean Refugees. So it is then my turn to thank you for attending these workshops and contributing. Your participation has an important impact.

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SOOHEE KIM INVITATION

For this womenlabtalk we have a group of very special guest speakers with powerful stories to both astonish and move you.

Sunghoon Kris Moon will begin by helping us to understand what it means to live under the most repressive totalitarian regime today and how all this Orwellian machinery has been able to serve so well the regime’s purposes. She considers herself both a native and foreigner to Korea and will lead the talk through the keen lens of her dual identity on what North Korea is and who the North Koreans are.

In order to complete this picture, the talk then will continue by listening to Korean Refugees, learners from Teach North Korean Refugees (TNKR), how they struggle to adjust to the outside world, as “freedom is only half the battle” Hyeonseo Lee states.

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Park Yeonmi, (second from left) Human Rights Activist and North Korean Defector at TNKR

Afterwards, Casey Lartigue, who cofounder along with Eunkoo Lee of Teach North Korean Refugees (TNKR), will explain how this organization provides English learning opportunities to refugees for determining their places in society. More than 200 refugees and 300 volunteers have participated in TNKR since Mr. Lartigue and Ms. Lee co-founded it in March 2013.

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“Teach North Korean Refugees” matching session. Refugees chose their English Tutors.

Finally, Rachel Stine will go over the Underground Railroad System that brings North Korean refugees to freedom, how activists are sending seeds to poor North Korean families, and English teaching opportunities for women and how they have established vibrant and flourishing communities.

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Rachel Stine teaching English to North Korean Refugees

There is much to learn about North Korea and many ways to support North Korean people to fulfill their potential and their own dreams.

Please join us on February 29th, 2016 when you will have the opportunity to learn firsthand where your donations are going and the massive impact they have. All proceeds will be donated to the TNKR and the Underground Railroad System Project.