I am so proud to be the recipient of the Challenge Korea Global Award. Today I attended the Awards Ceremony, held at the South Korean National Assembly. It is quite an honor. There are about 50 million people in South Korea, about 2 million of them are non-Koreans. Out of all of those people, I was one of the 10 people to receive an award today, and the recipient of the Global Award.
I’m not a celebrity, singer, actor, politician or rich man. I’m just a guy struggling to build an NGO in a foreign country helping North Korean refugees. These days, I rarely leave my office, so I’m not getting this kind of award because I’m out networking. It is the second year in the row for me to win an award and last month TNKR was honored as a finalist for the Asia Liberty Award. Incredibly, TNKR has received a lot of good press even though we don’t have anyone focused on reaching out to media. We get this kind of attention because of our good work. We have many refugees who are coming to us, eager to join our program even though there are other well-funded programs and institutes they could be studying in instead.
I’m not sure that I really deserve such an award, but they gave it to me, so I’m not giving it back!
At the awards ceremony, I spoke briefly, then invited our volunteers and fans to join me on stage. I gave two speeches this week, one with Q&A lasting 90 minutes, then a speech yesterday that lasted almost 2 hours with a few questions mixed in. So I was in no mood for another speech anyway!
Thanks so much to TNKR co-director Eunkoo Lee, TNKR project manager of the Bring My Father Home Project Youngmin Kwon, TNKR friend Han So Young, TNKR photographer Brian Klein, TNKR fan Shim Young for joining today to celebrate this award. Brian says that he has many photos to send, so I should be updating this a bit later.