Books by North Korean refugees, in English

by Eunsun Kim  (Author), Sébastien Falletti (Author), David Tian (Translator)
Yeonmi Park
Lucia Jang
I’m honored to know four of the authors. Two of them were winners of the Teach North Korean Refugees English speech contest.

Casey Lartigue with Eunsun Kim, July 2014


Casey Lartigue with Yeonmi Park, September 2015


Casey Lartigue with Hyeonseo Lee and Yeonmi Park, December 2012


Andrew Sungju Lee was the winner of the first TNKR English speech contest, February 2015.

Jang Jin-sung, a member of the TNKR Board of Directors and author of Dear Leader.



English speech contest set for NK refugees

By John Redmond

A volunteer group, Teach North Korean Refugees (TNKR), will host an English speech contest for North Korean refugees at Euljiro-dong Community Center in Seoul, Saturday.

At the event, 10 North Korean refugees who are students and alumni of the (TNKR) project will give speeches in English, answering the question “How can you help North Koreans?”

The participants are members of TNKR’s Track 1 “Finding My Own Way” and Track 2 “Telling My Own Story,” parts of the project co-founded in early 2013 by South Korean Lee Eun-koo and American Casey Lartigue, Jr.

Started in March 2013, TNKR has regular monthly sessions. It has so far held 24 sessions ― 22 in English and one in Spanish. The program boasts 156 refugees with 216 volunteers.

“Refugees can study English with as many tutors as they can handle. Park Yeon-mi was in the project last year, she had 18 tutors in eight months,” said Lartigue, Jr. in an email interview.

The prizes will comprise a grand prize of 1 million won, a second place prize with 500,000 won ($450), a third place prize of 100,000 won and an honorable mention prize with 50,000 won.

Co- director, Lartigue Jr., a fellow of Atlas Network since 2013, lives in South Korea where he is the director for international relations for Freedom Factory Co. In addition, he is the international adviser to the Mulmangcho School (for adolescent North Korean refugees) in Yeoju, Gyeonggi Province.

The contest will be from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. on Feb. 28 and 10,000-won donations are suggested.

To get to the Euljiro-dong Community Center, leave Euljiro 3-ga Subway Station at exit 3. Turn right at the first alley (about five seconds after you exit the subway and turn left at the first small street and the center will be on your left across the street, you will see Staz Hotel.

To attend the contest or join TNKR as a volunteer English tutor or speech coach, email Pay for tickets at Woori Bank account number 1006-201-405817 (account name TNKR).

For more information, visit


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.”

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.”