Saturday January 20

  • 2 pm, Speech Contest Orientation
  • 5 pm, Book Club Discussion
  • 6:30 pm, Book Club Drawing

It was the Tony Docan-Morgan Show, as he led both the speech contest orientation, then the Book Club discussion. And before that, he held two 1:1 feedback sessions with TNKR coaches already in the program. We are really thankful to have him as part of TNKR, adding structure and expertise to what we are doing.

Sunday January 21

  • 2 pm Longest Matching session in TNKR history

TNKR Academic Coordinator Janice Kim and TNKR National Director Eunkoo Lee combined to lead the longest and biggest Matching session in TNKR history.

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Tony Docan-Morgan, TNKR Senior Fellow and a professor teaching communication studies at the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse, led an orientation for speech coach applicants willing to help North Korean refugees prepare for TNKR’s 7th English speech contest. Refugees were thrilled to know how many people were applying to coach them for the speech contest.




The TNKR Book Club discussion got off to a fantastic start!

  • TNKR Senior Fellow Tony Docan-Morgan dissected Sungju Lee’s book “Every Falling Star” and shared a study guide with attendees.
  • Author Sungju Lee showed up at the last minute. It was quite a treat to have him join the discussion. You never know who will show up at TNKR events.
  • We chose two monthly winners who will receive signed copies of books written by North Korean refugee authors.
  • The second Book Club discussion will probably be held on February 10.



Congrats to Kaylin Womack and Oliver Brown for winning books by North Korean refugees. Monthly donors are eligible.

Prof. Tony Docan-Morgan draws the winning names of the monthly book club drawing.


Getting prepared for one of the feedback sessions about TNKR’s Track 2 (public speaking) project.


On Sunday, TNKR had its largest matching session in history: 13 refugees, 21 tutors, 5 staff. Everyone seemed to be understanding about our lack of space. Everyone sat on the floor, like we were back in elementary school.

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Our Matching sessions start at 2 pm. The first refugee to arrive was knocking on our door at 10:01 a.m. Yes, 4 hours before the session began. This is because refugees choose based on when they arrive to the session.



We had 21 volunteers join the last matching session. Reporters almost always ask me where the volunteers are from:

  • 14 USA
  • 2 Russia
  • 1 South Korea
  • 1 France
  • 1 Belgium
  • 1 England
  • 1 Canada

The volunteers even said they would help TNKR engage in fundraising.

8 Crowd-funding
8 Ask family or friends
3 Organize an event
1 Make an appeal to possible donors
1 A fundraiser at a bar or restaurant, Run a marathon or another activity seeking sponsors

We can only have this large of a session because of the teamwork between TNKR Academic Coordinator Janice Kim recruiting and managing the application process and TNKR National Director Eunkoo Lee getting refugees prepared for the session.

TNKR Academic Coordinator Janice Kim.



13 refugees selected a total of 48 tutors, meaning they selected an average of 3.7 tutors.

21 tutors were selected a total of 48 times, meaning they were chosen by an average of 2.3 refugees.

One refugee chose 6 tutors

Two refugees selected 5 tutors each

Four refugees selected 4 tutors each

Three refugees selected 4 tutors each

Two refugees selected 2 tutors each.


This was our largest group in history. We communicate with the refugees through Kakao–meaning that my iPad has been on fire the last few days.


Before sessions start, we prohibit tutors from talking to refugees. In the past, we had a couple of friendly guys trying to chit-chat with refugees, thereby distorting the selection process. This volunteer came prepared with her sunglasses, to avoid making eye contact with anyone.






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