Korea Times: “N. Korean defector group welcomes volunteers” (2016/04/13)

N. Korean defector group welcomes volunteers
By John Redmond

The Teach North Korean Refugees (TNKR) Education Center at American Orientalism University (AOU) invites guests and volunteers to an open house session in Insa-dong, downtown Seoul, April 16.

Aimed at discussing specific ways the public can get involved with TNKR, the open house follows up on last month’s International Volunteers Workshop: Opportunities to Help North Koreans.

“Almost 200 current and prospective volunteers attended last month’s International Volunteers Workshop featuring NGOs focused on North Korean refugees,” said co-founder Casey Lartigue, Jr. “Those volunteers have made it clear they are eager to get involved with helping North Korean refugees directly.”

Agenda items include the “How to help North Koreans” project, a speech contest, in-house tutoring, TNKR curriculum and volunteer roles.

TNKR is a non-profit organization based in Seoul that has connected more than 200 North Korean refugees with 300 volunteers.

The group was established in 2013 under the leadership of Lartigue and vice director Lee Eun-koo.

The open house will begin at 2 p.m. AOU is next to the Center Mark Hotel in Insa-dong.

For more information, visit facebook.com/groups/teachnkrefugees.


Original Korea Times link

RSVP here

Upcoming TNKR events

4/23 “How to Help North Koreans

5/7 “Hello, Konglish!” Track 1 orientation
5/14, “Hello, Konglish!” Track 1 Matching

5/26, “My escape from North Korea.”

6/11, Track 2 orientation, for speech contest

6/17 rally (tentative)

6/18, Track 2 Matching for speech contest

8/20, Speech contest Read more

“How to help North Koreans? Here’s my plan!”

How can I help

(TNKR) Teach North Korean Refugees is launching phase 2 of its project: “How to help North Koreans? Here’s my plan!”

* Part 1: English speech contest, 2/27/16
* Part 2, seminar by refugees presenting updated projects


In order to make this happen, we would like to connect refugees with volunteers who can help them build up their projects.

Therefore, we will be holding an orientation session on 4/23 at 2 pm at the TNKR office to discuss how to develop this project.

People often ask, “How can the international community help North Koreans?” With this project, we will get answers directly from North Korean refugees, then see what can be done. We will start with people who can directly join our meetings, but later we will try to open this up to people around the world.

Who can help? Anyone! Speech coaches, editors, webmasters, social media specialists, strategists, translators, writers and others with skills to build a project. This is not just a mock project, we want refugees to actually build projects that will later go live.

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The topic is broad, projects could address North Korea, rescues from China or other countries, resettlement, advocacy or any other aspect.

Even if you can’t directly participate in this project, there are ways you can help:
* We hope to hold the seminar at a nice place in early July. So please let us know of any suitable places that won’t break our budget.
* We are seeking sponsors for this project so if you don’t have another way to help, you can raise money and put us into contact with people who can help us make this project bigger.
* Tell friends who may be interested in joining this project..


Open House on 4/16

Agenda items (as of 3/30/16, stay tuned for updates):
* “How to help North Koreans” project
* Speech contest
* In-house tutoring
* TNKR curriculum
* Homework helpers
* Volunteer roles

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2016-03-25 Welcome to TBS eFM 101.3 listeners

You can find more information about the NGOs mentioned in Chance Dorland’s report.

The NGOs

* Justice for North Korea (JFNK)WebsiteFacebook
* Transitional Justice Working Group (TJWG): Facebook 1, Facebook 2, in Korean
* Teach North Korean Refugees (TNKR): WebsiteFacebook
* Unification Media Group (UMG) WebsiteFacebook
* Association for Family Members of the KAL Kidnapping Victims
(KAL 1969) Wikipedia
* International Coalition to Stop Crimes Against Humanity in North Korea (ICNK): WebsiteFacebook
* * *


Email lists (sign up to learn about volunteer opportunities)

* * *

Blog posts: Emma Foster, Casey Lartigue Jr.,

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2016-03-20 International Volunteers Workshop


“The International Volunteers Workshop: Opportunities to Help North Koreans” was a tremendous success, in terms of measuring success among events.

  • A lot of people were there? Check!
  • Attendees said they enjoyed it? Check!
  • Most attendees stayed from start to finish? Check!!!
  • I led the event without upsetting/offending a lot of people? Pending! Still waiting for feedback. 🙂

* * *

I say it was successful in terms of events because holding the event is just part 1. The key is the follow up. We hosted the event hoping that volunteers would find organizations they could assist and that organizations would find people who could help them overcome their budget struggles and lack of manpower.


Session 1: Andrei Lankov delivered the keynote address. He had the challenge that speakers have at not knowing the audience, so I tried to make it a bit easier by finding out how much attendees knew about him. Of the 230 people who registered in advance, 135 (60%) had never heard of him, 95 (40%) had. And I suspect that some who had heard of him had not read many things by him. So I let him know that in advance because that would be an indicator for him about the audience and the approach he should take.

Session 2: Two North Korean refugees gave testimony and a third introduced her organization. By a coincidence that would give a conspiracy theorists or a fortune teller a heart attack, 135 (60%) of those who registered in advance had never met a North Korean refugee, while 95 (40%) had done so.

“Heartbreaking but inspiring” is what one of the attendees wrote to me this morning about what she heard.

* * *


Session 3: Six different representatives of NGOs presented. It was interesting to hear about the different activities. Even though I am aware of some of them, I got to learn about each one of them more deeply. The most shocking thing is that most people stayed to listen to the NGOs, and that people asked many questions even though the entire Workshop lasted more than 5 hours!

Other thoughts:

  1. So many people arrived on time that we were able to start on time. At one point, we were actually ahead of schedule! Unbelievable.
  2. Volunteers at the Workshop were on the ball. Even when I forgot 5to announce at times when no photographs were allowed, they were monitoring people with cameras. Few details were overlooked, based on the many Kakao messages I was getting during the event reminding me to make various announcements.
  3. We had almost 200 people show up, but according to our team monitoring registration, there were 74 cancellations and no-shows. Wow! Enough of them to have had their own huge event! I will check the final numbers, because crowd counts are always touchy,  and sometimes it depends on who does the counting. For example, some people don’t include speakers and volunteers, but some others do.
  4. The best feedback that I got was from a few of our volunteers who said seeing people outside of TNKR introduced to our program made them realize how special our little project is.
  5. We had an extremely diverse crowd. I haven’t sorted out the final numbers yet, but we had people from 46 different countries sign up in advance.
  6. This past weekend was busy crazy…

Friday night, visited a refugee in the hospital.
Saturday morning, speech to the Asia Leadership Institute
Sunday, International Volunteers Workshop
Monday morning, wrote my Korea Times column

Directions to TNKR

Get up, get dressed, get to the Jonggak subway (line 1) area.

  1. If you are coming via subway then the easiest way is to get to Jonggak subway exit 3-1. (Yes, exit 3 is also possible, but 3-1 is the easiest although you will need to pay attention when you are exiting the subway).



2. After leaving exit 3-1, then walk straight for about 20-30 seconds. The road will look like this.



3. At the corner, get ready to turn right.



4. You will see this handy guide for directions. Turn right at this point.



5. After your right turn in number 4, the road will look like this. Walk straight for about 30 seconds. Keep your eyes open, look for the Centermark hotel on your left. Another key landmark is McDonalds.



6. Look at the Centermark hotel. Then look to your right. You will see a Green building on the right. YOU WANT TO GET TO THAT BUILDING! (And if we have any volunteers willing to paint it, let me know)



7. Look both ways, walk slowly, look out for the cars and pedestrians with one eye, but keep your other eye on that green building. The name of the building is in Chinese, but yes, walk up to room 301 to join the opening ceremony.

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A few notes:

  1. I don’t know about parking.
  2. The address on the building could be useful information to drivers.
  3. It is also possible to get to the opening ceremony from the Anguk subway (line 3). But it takes more time and is a bit confusing…

International Volunteers Workshop at the National Assembly

Join Teach North Korean Refugees, Justice for North Korea and Transitional Justice Working Group for the largest gathering of volunteers coming together to find ways to help North Koreans and North Korean refugees.

This event is scheduled for March 20 at the National Assembly of South Korea from 1 to 6 pm.

If you have been thinking about getting involved with helping North Korean refugees then here’s your chance. After this workshop is over, you will have a deeper understanding about North Korea, North Korean refugees and to learn about opportunities for you to get directly involved.

* Andrei Lankov, author of The Real North Korea, has confiirmed he will deliver the keynote address. This will be a great chance to hear from and talk with someone who has been studying about North Korea for almost three decades.

* We also have two North Korean refugees scheduled to speak at the workshop, including Eunsun Kim, author of “A Thousand Miles to Freedom.”

* You will also get to hear directly from representatives of several NGOs actively involved with helping North Korean refugees in Seoul and other places around the world.

You can reserve a space here.

Admission is 10,000 won per person, payable at the door.

workshop timeline

* * *

Reasons to join the International Volunteers Workshop on March 20, 2016, from 1 to 6 pm?

1) VOLUNTEER OPPORTUNITIES: The workshop features some leading NGOs introducing their major activities. So you will have any opportunities to get directly involved with helping organizations helping survivors of, current escapees trying to get to freedom and those still trapped by the NK regime.

2) EXPERT INTRODUCTION: Yes, the one and only Andrei Lankov will be kicking off the event. He was a student in North Korea in the 1980s, the author of several books on North Korea, and as expert as you can get when it comes to analyzing North Korea.

3) NORTH KOREAN REFUGEE SPEAKERS: Two different speakers, including the winner of a recent English speech contest featuring North Korean refugees, will be speaking.

4) NATIONAL ASSEMBLY: The workshop will be held at South Korea’s parliament. There aren’t many English-language events hosted at the parliament.

5) LOCATION IS EASY TO FIND!; Here are the step by step directions.

6) YOU ARE BEING INVITED! As long as you are not a spy or a kooky conspiracy theorist, then you are invited to join us.

7) COOKIES, NK STYLE: A prominent North Korean refugee will be selling cookies at the workshop!

* * *

What are you waiting for, an engraved invitation?^^ Please share this with your social media, let others know about thiis great opportunity to interact with several leading and effective NGOs during the same workshop. Bring a friend with you, this is an international event, anyone who wants to help North Korean refugees as well as those still blocked from freedom by the North Korean leaders.

No obligation to remain the entire time, 10,000 won admission so come and leave when you want.

Check out then SHARE the cool promo video done by Kiyun Sung. http://tinyurl.com/jnqfksa

Register here: http://tinyurl.com/zbehtyj
More info here: http://tinyurl.com/zs86qwn
Directions: http://tinyurl.com/z5veunk

2016-03-02 interview: Inside Out Busan

I was interviewed live on the radio earlier. Thanks to an alert fan for sending me this link/snapshots from “Inside Out Busan” hosted by @Tim Chatellier.

I also heard that TBS eFM aired a segment by Chance Dorland about the speech contest.

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2016-02-29 Ana Dols, no by-standers allowed

I spoke at a fantastic event organized by Ana Dols. I met her on Feb 2 when I was a featured speaker at an event introducing (TNKR) Teach North Korean Refugees to the American Women’s Club.

I said then during Q&A: I hope this will be a movement rather than a moment. At the end of the event, Ana told me that she wanted to invite me to speak at an event.

27 days later, I was speaking at a Women Lab Korea event. Ana is a newcomer to NK refugee issues, but she organized a really smart panel.

Sunghoon Kris Moon to give an overview about North Korea.
Ken Eom to discuss his own escape from North Korea and his adjustment.
Casey Lartigue to discuss the way (TNKR) Teach North Korean Refugees (now the North Korean Refugee Education Center at AOU) helps North Korean refugees improve themselves.
Rachel Stine to discuss rescuing North Koreans trying to escape to freedom.

I learned some things and also had some things I already knew shaken from the cobwebs in the archives of my mind. I have now given so many speeches that I am ready to get to Q&A to hear what people think. Of course many audiences want to talk about titillating stories about the leaders of the NK regime, I try to be patient, count to 10, remember there was a day I was in their shoes, then answer while trying to encourage them to think about something practical they can do.

It seemed that I had a connection with many people in the room. Sunghoon Kris Moon showed one of Yeonmi Park‘s speeches. Of course, Yeonmi was Ambassador of TNKR and we hosted a podcast together.

And we discovered some personal connections.

Rachel Stine was one of the volunteer tutors back when I was the International Adviser to the Mulmangcho School.

Several of our current and past volunteers were at the session. Peter Daley is Mr. Reliable, coming to many of our events in addition to being a tutor and coach in our program. Renee Cummins remains one of our biggest cheerleaders. Eileen Chong has kind of snuck up on me, coming to many of our events, being a coach in our program, helping us with graphics.

Many others. But the woman of the hour was Ana Dols. I meet many people at events who say they want to organize an event. There is a lot of happy talk at events, with people saying they will do one thing or another, then when they leave the event, it seems they forget to do most of what they have said. But not Ana. She followed through, kept the speakers updated, then she got it done! Don’t call her a by-stander!

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