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Alumni Reunion for the Washington D.C. Leadership Program
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2015-04-08 21:01:00
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Alumni Reunion for the Washington D.C. Leadership Program
By Miri Cha, Education Team Program Officer

On March 28, NKHR and Korean American Sharing Movement (KASM) jointly held a reunion for the North Korean youth who have participated in NKHR’s Washington D.C. Leadership Program. The eleven students who were recently selected for the upcoming 2015 Washington D.C. Leadership Program also joined the alumni. 

During the annual Washington D.C. Leadership Program, started in 2013 and co-hosted by NKHR and KASM, a group of North Korean university students travel to Washington D.C and New York for three weeks. The students visit international organizations and historical sites; meet policy-makers; and attend lectures by experts in fields such as economics, politics, democracy, and international relations. The Program gives the students a global perspective and helps prepare them to be future leaders of the Korean peninsula. (Read about our 2013 trip and our 2014 trip.)

March 28’s reunion kicked off with introductions by the past and present students. Alumni shared memories and lessons from their trips, telling one another what the Leadership Program meant to them. To one student, the trip was like “a pair of glasses”; the visits to various organizations and meetings with policymakers opened up her eyes to wider perspectives on global issues.

Following student presentations, the students heard from KASM board member, Declan Cummings. In addition to serving on KASM’s board, Cummings works as an Intellectual Property Specialist at Facebook. He spoke to the students about his work at Facebook.

The reunion was a great opportunity for the alumni of the Washington D.C. Leadership Program to relive and share memories from their trips. It also sparked ideas on how the students could continue learning and growing even though their trips have ended. One student suggested organizing regular gatherings for the Program alumni that incorporate public service and further education through lectures and guests speakers. The gatherings would also continue to strengthen relationships among the alumni. For the students selected for the 2015 Washington D.C. Leadership, the reunion gave them an exciting glimpse into what they will learn and experience when they depart this summer.