Category Archives: Yeonmi Park

TNKR in German!!! Thanks to Karin Hanna

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

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2016-01-15 TNKR featured on KBS World Radio

Korean audio

English audio

KBS World Radio visited TNKR’s recent Matching session. The article “Tutoring Program Teaches English to N. K. Defectors,” is being translated into 11 different languages:

So far, German, French, English, Vietnamese, Korean

KBS radio upload


TNKR Newsletter, December 2015

TNKR Newsletter – Dec. 2015 (PDF)

TNKR Newsletter – Dec. 2015 (Korean)



Dec 2015 vertical
TNKR, December 2015 newsletter

Publishers: Eunkoo Lee, Casey Lartigue Jr.

Editor-in-Chief: Amy Gradin

Publication Director: Kiyun Sung

Assistant Editor: Ashley-Nicole Harrison

Assistant Editor: Rachel Pearsall

Translator: Soohyun Lee

Special thanks to Cherie Yang, Michael Smit

TNKR Newsletter - Dec. 2015 (Korean)-page-001 TNKR Newsletter - Dec. 2015 (Korean)-page-002 TNKR Newsletter - Dec. 2015 (Korean)-page-003


2015-11-30 Yeonmi Park visits TNKR, plus international students

  • What an honor! My delightful former co-host and colleague Yeonmi Park stopped by the TNKR office to say hello! For a while, I was seeing her almost every day when we worked together in 2014, but I guess I have only seen her three or four times this entire year. She is now an international speaker and human rights advocate, but before that, she was my TV podcast co-host, ambassador to TNKR, and colleague at Freedom Factory. Thankfully, she is still a great friend.^^
  • After spending the early afternoon at the office, I met with international students to prepare for upcoming TNKR events. We had the meeting at the law firm that will be hosting our Christmas party on December 18.
  • 6 hours of in-house tutoring plus planning to add additional features to the program.

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2015-11-12 Yeonmi Park book signing (at Atlas event in NYC)

  • The highlight of the Atlas Network Liberty Forum and Dinner was Yeonmi Park’s book signing. She quickly had a long line, then her books sold out because the people buying them were buying four and five at a time.
  • I had already paid for 10 more copies but they had sold out before I had a chance to claim the books. No kidding, when it was my turn, there was only one book left. I did the next guy in line a favor by allowing him to get a signed copy.
  • I felt like a proud big brother seeing her at the book signing, taking photos of her with the people eager to meet her, get their books signed, and to talk to her and tell her how inspired they were by her story. Last year Yeonmi and I worked together closely on our TV podcast, publicizing TNKR, and getting her prepared for the moment the world would call her to speak. I knew from February of last year that she would be known all over the world speaking out about North Korea, human rights, and telling her story, and today I was able to see it in action!
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2015-11-02 Yonhap News 탈북자에 무료 영어강의 주선 미국인 라티그씨

(서울=연합뉴스) 이봉석 기자 = 남한으로 넘어온 탈북자들에게 무료로 영어를 가르쳐주는 프로그램이 있다.

한국에 거주하는 미국인 케이시 라티그 씨가 한국인 이은구(36) 씨와 함께 만든 ‘TNKR'(Teach for North Korean Refugees)가 그것이다.

오래전부터 북한 인권에 관심이 많았다는 라티그씨는 탈북자들을 도울 일이 뭐가 있을까 함께 고민하던 중 이씨와 의기투합해 이 프로그램을 만들게 됐다.

이 프로그램은 일반적인 영어학원과 달리 영어를 배우고자 하는 탈북자와 영어를 가르치고자 하는 자원봉사자를 연결해 주는 방식으로 운영된다. 또 자원봉사자가 탈북자 한 명을 1대1로 지도하는 것이 원칙이다.

탈북자와 자원봉사자는 정기적으로 열리는 ‘매칭 데이’를 통해 상대방을 고를 수 있다. 서로 신뢰를 쌓고 학습 효율을 높이기 위한 목적이다.

라티그 씨는 탈북자 학생과 자원봉사자를 주로 페이스북과 카카오톡 같은 SNS를 통해 모집한다.

입소문이 나면서 현재 약 180명의 탈북자가 이 프로그램을 통해 영어를 배우고 있다. 대기 중인 탈북자는 수십 명이고 자원봉사자는 이보다 더 많은 약 280명이다.

라티그 씨는 “영어를 배움으로써 남한 생활에 한층 쉽게 적응하고 더 나은 직업을 찾고자 하는 탈북자들의 문의가 계속 늘고 있다”고 귀띔했다.

실제로 지난해 통일부가 탈북자 1만2천 여명을 대상으로 설문조사를 벌인 결과 40%가 넘는 응답자가 ‘외래어로 인한 의사소통’을 어려움으로 꼽았다.

라티그 씨는 탈북자들이 무대와 영어에 대한 공포를 한꺼번에 해소할 수 있도록 영어 웅변대회도 정기적으로 연다.

그는 “지난해 국제무대에서 북한의 인권 실상을 폭로해 유명해진 탈북자 박연미 씨 등이 이 프로그램을 통해 영어를 배웠다”고 소개했다.

강의가 영어에만 국한된 것도 아니다. 예를 들어 변호사를 꿈꾸는 탈북자가 있으면 법학용어 이해에 도움이 되는 라틴어도 배울 수 있도록 돕는다.

이태원에 위치한 사무실 임대료 등 필요한 경비는 후원을 받아 충당하고 있다고 한다.

라티그 씨는 현재 한국의 시민단체 프리덤 팩토리의 국제협력실장과 탈북자학교인 물망초학교의 국제협력자문위원을 맡고 있다.

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TNKR updates

These days, I can barely keep track of Teach North Korean Refugees students, alumni, tutors, coaches.

Feb 9, Cherie Yang to Florida Gulf Coast University and the Foundation for Government Accountability.

Feb 12, Cherie Yang​ to the John Locke Foundation in North Carolina.

Feb 13, Joo Yang will be speaking in Washington, DC to the RobertF. Kennedy Center for Justice and Human Rights.

Feb 14, Yeonmi Park in Washington, DC, to the International Students for Liberty Conference.

Feb 14, Cherie Yang to the Atlas Network and Frederick Douglass Memorial & Historical Association.

Feb 20, Joo Yang doing a Tedx talk.

Feb 24, Yeonmi Park at Geneva Summit for Human Rights and Democracy

Feb 27, former TNKR tutor Joseph Steven Van Dorn​ will be leading up a fundraiser at which Sungju Lee will be the main speaker.

Feb 28, TNKR English speech contest.

March 6, fundraiser for the Mulmangcho School​ (I’m the international adviser), being organized by TNKR tutors Rachel Stine and In-Jee Lee​.

Plus, Jihyun Park​ is being featured in numerous places, including “The Other Interview.”

These are the things I happened to stumble upon. They are now all proving to be “magnets for freedom.”

TNKR alumni update: Joo Yang and Yeonmi Park at SFL in 2015

Joo Yang and Yeonmi Park will both be speakers at the Students for Liberty International Summit, according to a Website and United Liberty.  Yeah, well, before they were sought-after speakers, they were both students in the Teach North Korean Refugees Project.

Joo Yang (then known as Chanyang Ju) was matched with tutors from mid 2013 until early 2014. Here’s an article I wrote for the Korea Times about the three months she studied intensively to prepared to deliver her first major speech in English, at the Asia Liberty Forum in New Delhi, India. In addition, I also heard that she was speaking at Columbia University a few days ago, but I didn’t hear about it until a few days later. And of course, I am so delighted that she recorded this broadcast about me, to be sent into North Korea.

Yeonmi Park was in the project in mid 2013 for a short time, then returned with a vengeance from January-October of 2014, studying with 18 tutors during that time. I recently wrote about working together with Yeonmi, here are our most recent podcasts. She is now wrapping up her speaking tour that began in Europe and is ending in the USA.

Joo Yang at the October 2013 matching session.
Joo Yang at the October 2013 matching session.
with Chanyang Ju (Joo Yang) for her talk in India last January.
with Chanyang Ju (Joo Yang) for her talk in India last January.
Chanyang speaking in India at the Asia Liberty Forum, January 2014.
Chanyang speaking in India at the Asia Liberty Forum, January 2014.
Yeonmi returns to the Matching program in January 2014. She studied with 18 tutors during January-October 2014..
Casey Lartigue and Yeonmi Park, in Hong Kong, on September 6, 2014, recording "North Korea Today, featuring Casey and Yeonmi."
Casey Lartigue and Yeonmi Park, in Hong Kong, on September 6, 2014, recording “North Korea Today, featuring Casey and Yeonmi.”