Friday was a busy day!

* TNKR Senior Fellow Tony Docan-Morgan held 1:1 feedback sessions with coaches in Track 2 (public speaking).

* TNKR Ambassador Eunhee Park gave a fantastic talk at a private event at our office.

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* Last year at this time, Eunkoo Lee and I were thinking about ways to expand Track 2. We had some ideas based on what we had learned in more than two years of helping refugees with public speaking, but we weren’t sure about some of the practical steps we needed to take and worried that we lacked the expertise to get it done.

Then Tony Docan-Morgan found us! He’s a professor teaching communication at the University of Wisconsin-Lacrosse. After one meeting I knew he knew! Unlike some rookies who immediately try to tell us how to run TNKR based on attending one meeting, he studied what we were doing, tried to understand deeply, then found the way to apply his skills without disrupting the project. At last, I felt comfortable turning over the reins to someone else to guide TNKR. 

On Friday morning, he added an important component to Track 2 by holding 1:1 feedback sessions with coaches. I learned a few lessons hearing the coaches talk about their experiences.

Professor Docan-Morgan’s university in the USA has now written two articles about his volunteer work with TNKR. “A Voice for Refugees” and “In World News.”


Here’s his latest fundraiser for TNKR!


TNKR Special Ambassador Eunhee Park gave an INCREDIBLE talk to a private group. Her speech was great, and then during Q&A, she was absolutely marvelous. There are many speakers who can give a good speech, but can you mix it up with people based on their questions. After all, you can get prepared, but in some cases, your talk can’t answer questions that people may already have. So many speakers want to give long speeches, leaving little time for Q&A, meaning that some people will always leave frustrated.

On Friday, Eunhee gave a short talk, then was in command during Q&A. By the time the event was over, the visiting organization wanted to hire her! I can also see the progress she is making in other ways. She was featured in an article a while ago, some losers on the Internet attacked her for some stupid reasons. She read their comments and has adjusted her talk a bit to counter their criticisms in advance.

In North Korea, when people didn’t like things she did, she would get questioned by the police. In South Korea and the wild world of the Internet, they blog, gossip and try to ruin your reputation.

She will be giving two talks abroad, one arranged by TNKR, and another arranged by an outside organization. It is hard to believe how quickly she has come since we first met her in April 2015. At that time, she spoke in short and choppy English sentences.

Here’s my Korea Times column about her evolution and a blog post with photos.

Here’s her fundraiser for TNKR!

TNkR을 만나기전까지 저의 이름은 박은빈이었고 항상 사진속의 저의 얼굴은 무언가에 가려져 있었습니다. 북한사람으로 살아가는것이 가끔은 원망스러웠고 한국정착을 하는데 걸림돌이 되기도 했으니까요. 누군가가 나에게 가장 오래오래 기억하고 싶은 순간이 있냐고 묻는다면 이 단체를 만나서 세상의 아름다움을 보았다고 말할것입니다.
Before I found TNKR, my name was Eun-bin Park, and my face was always hidden in photos. I sometimes hated the fact that I was a North Korean, and it was often an obstacle to adapting to the South Korean society. If someone asks me what is the moment that I will cherish the most as long as I live, I would say it is the time I found TNKR and saw the beauty of this world. 

TNKR은 탈북민들에게 영어를 가르쳐줄뿐 아니라 우리가 진정한 정체성을 가지고 당당하게 한국사회에서 자신감을 가지고 살아갈 수 있도록 새로운 삶의 기회를 열어주는곳입니다. TNKR을 통해 저의 부모님이 지워주신 진짜 이름을 말할 수 있게 되었고 북한사람으로서 대한민국에서 당당하게 살아갈 수 있었습니다.
TNKR does not simply teach English to North Koreans; it opens up new lives for them, lives where they can live as who they really are in South Korea. Thanks to TNKR, I was able to say the name given to me by my parents, and to live without a shred of embarrassment at my North Korean origin. 

저와 같이 많은 북한사람들의 세상의 아름다운 빛을 볼 수 있도록 당신의 도움이 필요합니다.

We need your support, so that more North Koreans can see the beautiful light of this world.


The only bad news is that we have a tutor that we might have to kick out of the program. He has been with us for a while, but insists on using Korean in tutoring sessions. He had promised that he would not do it, and then he did it again in our office. I hope he can find another program where he can tutor using Korean. 


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