NKHR’s Awareness Program expands understanding of the situation inside North Korea, the dangerous journey for North Koreans refugees, and the challenges faced by North Korean resettling in South Korea. We visit universities, high schools, military bases, corporations, and religious groups across South Korea to conduct educational sessions with firsthand testimonies by North Koreans and discussions of current North Korean human rights issues. Each session is tailored to the audience and varies depending on the specialization and requests of the group. We offer similar programs for students from foreign universities, government officials, or diplomats visiting South Korea. NKHR’s Awareness Program is offered in both English and Korean. Our Awareness Program also engages middle and high school students across South Korea through essay contests and fine art competitions. The topics are related to North Korean human rights and have previously included children’s rights and North Korean refugees. NKHR also hosts “Talk Concerts” for South Korean students. These Talk Concerts are informal discussions in the format of a television talk show and feature North Korean resettlers as guest speakers. If you are interested in hosting an education session on North Korean human rights with NKHR, please email email@example.com
|Korean Youth toward Reunification: Tong Tong Concert|
Korean Youth toward Reunification: Tong Tong Concert
Joori Choi, NKHR Education Team Program Officer
In May, NKHR held a student-focused “Tong Tong Concert” at Daejung Techincal High School in Daegu, about 200km south of Seoul. NKHR’s Tong Tong Concerts typically consist of music programs and talk shows to raise awareness about the North Korean human rights situation. The Korean word “tong” can mean “all” or “communication”—as the name of NKHR’s awareness program, “tong” signifies that notion that North Korean human rights and reunification issues need the attention and interest of all people all ages.
The concert began with a performance by the renowned North Korean pianist, Cheol-Woong Kim, who escaped North Korea in 2001. Following his performance, a discussion was led by young North Korean escapees Hyuk Kim, Chun-Kang Park, and Sungju Lee. Because the audience was comprised of male high school students, the talk focused in particular on North Korea’s military and education systems. Although both North and South Korea require military service for their young men, the students were stunned that the military service in North Korea is ten years (South Korea’s service is three years).
In addition to sharing their personal experiences, the speakers discussed several aspects of North Korean society. Sungju Lee explained that although North Korea is technically one nation, the huge inequalities between people living in Pyongyang and the other regions makes North Korea more like two separate societies. The stories of Hyuk Kim, who wandered North Korea as a homeless child, touched the hearts of the students in the audience. He told the young men about his long journey to build a new life in South Korea after living as a kkotjebi in North Korea.
Throughout the rest of the year, NKHR will organize additional Tong Tong concerts throughout Korea, including Seoul, Busan, Chungcheong, Jeolla, and Gangwon. We hope the concerts provide South Korean youth with a better understanding of North Korea and inspire the students to help take steps to prepare for the reunification of Korea.
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