Greetings! Our team has been getting prepared for the upcoming English speech contest featuring North Korean refugees.

* The 7 refugee speakers have been getting prepared by working with speech coaches.

* We have 13 volunteers signed up to help at the event. We are really thankful to have so many people willing to help out!

To make the event even smoother, attendees can do a few things:

* Arrive early. Between 1:30 to 1:50. Volunteers will be there from 1 pm to help setup the room. Doors will be open to attendees from 1:30 pm. It will take time to process everyone who arrives, so the earlier you can arrive, the better. Your ticket is valid until 1:50 pm to be guaranteed of a seat. Arrive early, arrive early, arrive early, then we can finish early…

We will do our best to wrap up by 4:30… which is more likely if people arrive early and we can start on time…

* Print out your ticket. You can help things go much faster by printing out your ticket and handing it to our volunteers handling registration. At the least, have it handy on your phone by taking a photo of it now (in case you lose wi-fi at that key moment). But it would be better to have the print out.

* Look at the directions now. A lot of people wait until the morning of an event, or as they are on their way, before looking at directions. We have some volunteers who have agreed to be guides, but you can help by being aware in advance. Here:

If you know you are the type to get lost, then plan to arrive early.

When you arrive in the building, report to reception, tell them you are going to “TNKR.” That is what they have previously coded for the contest.

* Disruptions: Let’s do our best to avoid disruptions. If you know you need to leave early, then please sit at the back of the room so you can leave without bumping into someone speaking. When entering the room, especially if you are late, please don’t walk in talking loudly, “HI EVERYBODY, I’M HERE.” And of course don’t be the person with their phone ringer on during the event (someone please remind me to make this announcement, and to turn off my phone).


During the contest:

* Respect the speakers: That means, be quiet when the speakers are talking. There is no excuse for side discussions, chit-chat. I was truly amazed by a couple of idiots talking during our last contest. If my angry look could have killed, it would have wiped out their entire families.

It will be the first public speech for some of the refugees. If you need to have a separate conversation, then leave the room. You can save your questions, comments and jokes for the time that I will be speaking after the contestants have all finished. Bring it on, I can take it!

* Dress code: Business casual. But what does that really mean? Be aware that the event is scheduled to be recorded, photos taken. So don’t wear anything you’d be embarrassed to have posted on Facebook. If you show up looking scandalous, I’ll call your mom to let her know that you showed up Business Clown instead of Business Casual.

Donations: There is no admission fee for the event, but we will have a donation box at the entrance. Please make a donation to help us with this project. As I will explain at the contest, we are planning an exciting follow up event for which we have no sponsor. So that means, bring cash to make a donation of any amount…

Parking: If you plan on driving, then send me an email with your name and license plate number. I don’t know how many parking spaces will be available (there should be many because it is a Saturday), so if you get the info to me sooner rather than on Saturday morning when I will be handling many other things, I should be able to request spaces.

* * *

Any questions?

I am sending this Tuesday night, hoping everyone will check their email before the event. I will follow up with answers to questions that others may be wondering about.


If it took you a long time to read this, recognize that it took me even longer to write it…


People often ask, “How can I help (fill-in-the-blank) cause?” To the 106 people who have signed up to join our speech contest tomorrow, the question for you is, “How can I be a good attendee?”

My suggestions:
1) Read emails and updates related to the event. (That means, don’t sign up with an email or Facebook account you rarely check).
2) Check the directions in advance.
3) Arrive early. For an event starting at 2 pm, that does not mean you are on time if you arrive at 2. On time means you arrive 10 to 15 minutes in advance, so registration can be processed, everyone can be seated, and the organizers can check last minute details.

Don’t be the attendee who:
a) arrives just as the event is beginning, thereby disrupting things.
b) announces your rival, “HEY, EVERYBODY, I’M HERE” or gives a shout-out to the person at the microphone.
c) drops your bag or purse, spilling everything on the floor.
… then your phone starts ringing or alarm about the event goes off.
.. as you knock over or fall out out of your seat
d) talks during the contest to other attendees. Only staff volunteers and speakers should be talking during the event tomorrow. Exceptions will be if and when the audience is asked questions by the MC.

Email update:
Directions to the speech contest:

step 1: take a taxi, bus, subway bike or use your feet to head in the direction of Shin and Kim law firm. This particular route is from  Myeongdong subway exit 3:

image image


from exit 3, walk straight.

image image


you’ll pass evil American institutions like McDonalds and Starbucks. Then you’ll come to a tall building with a Starbucks sign in front of it. Walk into that tall building. You’ll see “State tower” on one side, and the names of the companies and organizations on the other.

image image image

Walk inside, turn right, tell them at the reception desk that you are there for the speech contest.

there is more than one way to get here–this is the route I just took…

Events don’t prepare themselves, they need behind-the-scenes preparation. Today I visited the National Assembly along with Peter Jung and one of his colleagues. We will be holding an International Volunteers Workshop on March 20.

register here

workshop flyer march 20


here are the directions to get to the National Assembly building where we will be holding the Workshop:

From exit 1 of the National Assembly subway (line 9).

image Read more

Tomorrow’s Korea Herald has a nice feature on Teach North Korean Refugees, discusses our upcoming speech contest, and is the first to announce our move to American Orientalism University.
Quoted in this article: Casey Lartigue, Eunkoo Lee, Ryan Habin Gardener, Ken Eom, A Young Kim
Read more

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.

IMG_2579 IMG_2580

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…

Whenever Teach North Korean Refugees holds an Open House, we attracted 10 to 15 people. I am thankful when at least 1 or 2 later become volunteers and do what they say they are going to do! And even better, some just *do* things, after briefly confirming that their suggestions will add value.

Such is the case with Alexia Andrieux! She is now letting the French speaking world know about TNKR! She translated Radio Free Asia’s recent article and broadcast about TNKR. (English translation by Soohyun Lee)




One of our newest volunteers is Karin Hanna. We have some potential volunteers who talk about how much they would like to volunteer–Karin cuts directly to the action. She read about TNKR, went through our entire website, watched videos, and thought about ways she could help.

One way: translate about TNKR into German.

PDF: Vorstellung und Beschreibung der TNKR Organisation

Page1 Page2 Page3


Teach North Korean Refugees will be featured on KBS Saturday February 20 at 6 pm.

KBS was with us yesterday from 10:30 a.m. until 5 pm when we finally left the Matching session.

The Korea Herald is also planning an article soon, a reporter interviewed the TNKR co-directors a few days ago, and returned yesterday from 1 to 7 pm to learn more about what we are doing.image


12733421_988790321191867_1871327598203832270_n You are invited to join WomenLabTalk when it holds a special session focusing on North Korea and North Korean refugees. The invited speakers are Sunghoon Kris Moon, North Korean refugees, Casey Lartigue Jr. and Rachel Stine.

The event is being organized by Ana Dols, an energetic lady who wants to make a difference! She writes: “I am the womenlabkorea catalyst and my goal is to use women’s collective intelligence as a driver to generate some impact in their lives and in the lives of women around them.”

This is especially relevant to the issue of North Korean refugees, about 80 percent who make it to South Korea are females.

More details and background info here.
Far From Heaven. The Unspeakable Lives of North Korean People

Register here so they can prepare.

25,000 won per person, all of the proceeds will go to (TNKR) Teach North Korean Refugees and the Underground Railroad System Project.

726-111, Hannam Dong, Yongsan Gu, Seoul, Korea 140-210 서울시 용산구 한남동 726-111

힐사이드 레지던스 오는 방법 (How to get to Hillside residence)

1. 한남대교 북단에서 직진 – 단국대학교 지나 직진 – 볼보 자동차 빌딩 – 약 100미터 지점 도로 우편(풀향기, 루터교회 지나지 않고) 힐사이드 간판따라 우회전 – 언덕 끝에서 좌회전 – 좌회전 후 오른쪽 언덕으로 올라오면 힐사이드 입구 보안실

Hannam Bridge North side – Dankook Univ. – VOLVO Bldg – go straight 100m then turn right beside PulHyangGi Restraunt – then come up to hill then turn left – then turn right and come up to hill until you find the hillside Security Post
2. 남산에서 한남대교 방향으로 직진 – 한남대교 건너기 전 고가 밑에서 유턴 – 단국대학교 지나 직진 – 볼보 자동차 빌딩 – 약 100미터 지점 도로 우편(풀향기, 루터교회 지나지 않고) 힐사이드 간판따라 우회전 – 언덕 끝에서 좌회전 – 좌회전 후 오른쪽 언덕으로 올라오면 힐사이드 입구 보안실

From Namsan to Hannam Bridge – U-turn under the overpass of Hannam Bridge – Dankook Univ. – VOLVO Bldg – go straight 100m then turn right beside PulHyangGi Restraunt – then come up to hill then turn left – then turn right and come up to hill until you find the hillside Security Post

You are cordially invited to join the opening ceremony marking the formation of a new North Korean refugee education center.
The center is being established under the leadership of Director Casey Lartigue and Vice-Director Eunkoo Lee, co-founders of Teach North Koreans (TNKR), a non-profit based in Seoul that has connected more than 200 refugees with more than 300 volunteers.
* The ceremony will last less than an hour.
The event is taking place a short distance between the Jonggak (line 1) and Angguk (line 3) subway stations. The closest landmark is the Centermark hotel.
RSVP here.
* * *
Yes, we are still listening to suggestions of names for the center…. serious suggestions only, please…
* * *
The center is unfurnished. For the last few years, I have been like a man running down the street, and people asking me if they could give me a piano. At last, we have a center where we can receive donations (desks, chairs, shelves, file cabinets, computers and other office supplies).

image image image