TNKR volunteer Peter Daley wrote:

In July, I was lucky enough to attend a private function organised by Teach North Korea Refugees (TNKR) at which Thae Yong-ho, North Korea’s former deputy ambassador to the UK, spoke about his experiences and views on recent events related to his home country and its interactions with other countries including the recent summits.

Yesterday, another former senior diplomat, who shall at his request remain nameless, also spoke at a private event organised by TNKR. Both talks were utterly fascinating for the obvious reasons.

I asked a rather simple question yesterday (and it was a question he was expecting): How long did you plan your defection and what led you to make that decision?

I can’t share the specifics, but his 10-minute answer was utterly fascinating, touching, and at times surprisingly humorous. There was only time for a few questions, so I’m really glad I got that one in and got to hear his answer. Hopefully one day his story can be told.

Both Mr. Thae and yesterday’s speaker spoke very highly of TNKR and especially the help it gives to younger defectors. Here’s what Mr. Thae had to say about TNKR at July’s event:

More about the event and quite a few photost:

As a long-term volunteer – actually the longest serving volunteer (but not the most active), Mr Thae’s insightful comments about TNKR reminded me of the importance of the work TNKR does and re-inspired me to find the time to do more.

If you haven’t volunteered with TNKR yet, but are considering it, I’d get on that as they are always in need of volunteers, the volunteering itself is always rewarding, and there are more and more unique opportunities like the above to meet, listen to, and question some fascinating people with some rather astounding experiences working for and then escaping the DPRK.

Other recent speakers at TNKR events include Kang Chol-hwan, author of The Aquariums of Pyongyang and Jang Jin-sung: former poet laureate of North Korea; former psychological warfare officer; and author of Dear Leader: My Escape from North Korea. Read both those books if you haven’t already.