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2017-09-17 TNKR Matching 63

On Sunday, TNKR held a large Matching session with 10 refugeees, 17 volunteers tutors, and 7 volunteer staff members. 

Support TKNR: http://teachnorthkoreanrefugees.org/donate/

Volunteer: http://teachnorthkoreanrefugees.org/volunteer/

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2017-09-13 Accepting book donations!

A fan dropped by to donate some books to TNKR. He refused to take photos, but he can see here that one of the refugees joining TNKR is very happy to have gotten a book in English! Yes, you can also donate books to TNKR, although we have limited space.

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TNKR on Cable TV



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2017-09-04 Are you Christians?

To get prepared for our Track 1 Matching session on September 17, we held small orientation sessions this past weekend. If you would like to join, apply here!

One of the refugees wanted to know if TNKR is a Christian organization. We explained that we are a non-religious, non-political organization. She wasn’t satisfied by our explanations about why we are helping NK refugees, then she explained why she was baffled:

I have seen people volunteer in South Korea, but most people volunteer just once. I don’t understand why people at TNKR volunteer long-term, with such a strong commitment to refugees.

She is not the first refugee to ask that. We had another say that she sees people get interested about NK after there is a big story in the news, but not long-term commitments.

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TNKR co-founders Casey Lartigue Je and Eunkoo Lee will be speaking at TEDxDongdaemun on September 9.

Ted.com page


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2017-08-31 TEDx prep

TNKR Senior Fellow Tony Docan-Morgan and Assistant Director Dave Fry stopped by today to help TNKR co-directors Eunkoo Lee and Casey Lartigue get prepared for their TEDx Talks next week. That begs the question: Can you teach an old dog new tricks?

In one corner, Professor Docan-Morgan has been teaching public speaking and communication for 15 years, so this is old hat for him.

In the other corner, TNKR co-founder Casey Lartigue, who has been giving public speeches for about 17 years. He certainly has many bad habits that it will be tough to unteach by September 9. If you want to watch me fall off the TEDx stage next weekend, be sure to reserve your tickets in advance.

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2017-08-26 TNKR’s 6th English Speech Contest, “A Woman is a Flower: The Lives of North Korean Women.”

So many great stories, wonderful people, fantastic feelings at yesterday’s 6th TNKR English speech contest.

The theme of the contest: “A Woman is a Flower: The Lives of North Korean Women.”

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Random moments and observations from the contest:

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TNKR Speech Contest 6 Guide for Attendees

Thank you so much for your RSVP to TNKR’s 6th English speech contest. Please join us in helping the speakers to feel comfortable, it isn’t easy for some of them to speak out publicly about sensitive topics. Because of some recent activity by the North Korean regime both targeting and inviting North Korean refugees to return to the country, some of the speakers at the contest have requested that they be allowed to shield their identities and not to show their faces.

After getting feedback from them, we agreed on the following:

  • Privacy: No recordings (video or audio) or photographs except by media and TNKR staff. Even then, a few of the refugees will speak on the condition that there will be no photographs or recordings.
  • Off-the-record: Several of them will be discussing sensitive aspects of their stories that they have never discussed publicly. Therefore, several of them have also asked attendees not to write blog posts or articles about what they hear from specific speakers.
  • Contact info: Don’t ask the speakers for their contact information. You can meet them–by becoming a volunteer with TNKR or working with us to arrange future speech opportunities. Before the contest, if you arrive early, please allow the refugees and their coaches to have quiet time getting prepared for the contest.

Other Notes:

  • Venue: Check the Eventbrite invitation for the map and directions. Here’s an easy to follow, step-by-step video showing the route. Myeongdong station exit 4, walk for about two minutes, State Tower, Namsan will be on your left
  • Where do I check-in? Check-in at reception on the first floor, tell them the password, then they will direct you to the 8th floor. The elevators don’t have buttons so staff at the building will have to help you with getting access to the 8th floor.
  • What’s the password? TNKR.
  • To expedite registration: Be sure to bring a print out of your ticket or have it ready on your favorite mobile device that you will turn off and hide during the event.
  • First-come, first seated: We have sold all of the seats at the contest and anticipate a few people showing up at the door to pay. We can hold seats until 1:50 pm, but after that, we will open up all seats to everyone present. We plan to start promptly at 2 pm, our volunteer team will be arriving from 12:30 pm to have things set up.
  • Wrapping up: We plan to finish the contest by 4:30 pm. We would like to take a group photo, so please stick around for that so we can show how many people were in the room (the refugees will hide their faces then).
  • Following-up: After previous contests, we have had some volunteers who wanted to join. Check this link, get involved as a tutor or general volunteer in other ways. In particular, we are seeking translators, social media junkies and fundraisers at the moment..
  • Parking? Yes, parking is available! Send me the last four digits of your license plate to my email CJL@post.harvard.edu. But before you leave, you will need to inform reception that you’re leaving.

2017-08-24 Tutoring, featuring Youngmin Kwon!

In baseball, a utility man is a player can usually play several positions, always ready to step in when necessary. That’s the case of Youngmin Kwon​! This week he has been tutoring North Korean refugees at our office, translated several things, and tomorrow he will be the Floor Manager at TNKR’s 6th English speech contest!


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2017-08-23 Planning for the speech contest

Most of TNKR’s leadership team got together last night to discuss the agenda for Saturday’s speech contest. We checked out the room, confirmed some final details, and Eunkoo had a great idea about inviting a refugee to give a testimonial.

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