Liberty in North Korea pres.
Liberty in North Korea l Creating LiNKs: Humanity Behind Another World
Jeongyol Ri and Ilhyeok Kim
We want diverse perspectives to be available to all ♥
Liberty in North Korea at the University of Michigan is excited to invite two North Korean advocacy fellows from the LiNK HQ, Jeongyol Ri and Ilhyeok Kim, come to campus on November 6th, 2019!
Join us as they reflect on their first-hand experiences as North Korean escapees, and their adjustment after relocation.
Jeongyol Ri was born in 1998, and spent his childhood in Pyongsong. Math was his most notable passion— by the time he was in elementary school, he had already in mastered a middle school math curriculum. He later went on to represent the the North Korean team for the International Mathematical Olympiad (IMO). Over the course of four competitions, he had obtained a four silver medals. His success led the North Korean government to offer him a job, but he did not want to work for the regime. The Hong Kong IMO was Jeongyol’s last chance to defect while abroad; he was only 18 years old. While the rest of his team was packing for the return home, he snuck out and sought asylum at the South Korean consulate. In 2016 Jeongyol resettled in South Korea and in 2019 started Seoul National University.
Ilhyeok Kim was born in 1995 in Saetbyeol when the famine had just begun. As a result of the famine, his father became a broker who helped defectors in South Korea send money to relatives still in North Korea. When Ilhyeok was 12, his father was caught and imprisoned, but was eventually released for owning a Chinese cell phone. From that day onward, the government kept a close eye on his family. Despite the repercussions they would face if they escaped, they bravely decided to flee. In 2011 they arrived in South Korea. Ilhyeok aspires to work for the United Nations one day.
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