Yeonmi Park is expected to visit the DePauw University where she will be talking about her experience in defecting from North Korea and human trafficking. She is expected to give a Timothy and Sharin Ubben Lecture at the university. The 21 year old has been a speaker at the One Young World Summit and the Oslo Freedom Forum in Dublin.
The October 5th event is expected to happen a day after her 22nd birthday and six days after the publication of her book In Order to Live; A North Korean Girl’s Journey to Freedom. The Ubben lecture at DePauw University will start with her speech. Soon after, a question and answer session will be undertaken, followed by a book signing session.
The story of Yeonmi’s struggle in North Korea and her encounter with human smugglers and traffickers led her to become a human rights activist. Such stories are rare and any person who comes up with such information is recognized by different organizations for his or her bravery. Her efforts earned her a spot on BBC’s top 100 global women list.
According to the information I read from the DePauw Education Website, Park was brought up in a society where the regime controlled everything they did. After watching a pirated copy of Titanic, her belief that dying for the regime was an honor was demystified especially when she saw Jack Dawson willing to die for love. The movie altered her thinking and she craved freedom.
In her book, Yeonmi talks about how the famine affected the family and forced them to leave North Korea. With the help of human traffickers, Yeonmi, her sister and mother crossed the frozen river and entered China. Her father had opted to stay back assuming that his sickness would slow the family’s escape efforts. Yeonmi’s father eventually joined them in China. During their escape to China, Yeonmi’s mother was raped by traffickers, her father died of colon cancer and her sister got lost. Yeonmi and her mother made the difficult journey to the South Korean embassy were they sort solace. Yeonmi continues to champion for the rights of North Koreans who are suffering and dying every day. She is so far the youngest Ubben Lecturer. More information on her life and triumphs in life can be accessed at the DePauw website.
Yeonmi Park was born In Hyesan, Ryanggang North Korea on October 4th, 1993.
Her mother was a nurse and her father a civil servant. His sick father served as a party member of the Workers Party. The family later moved to Pyongyang to be closer to her father. She left North Korea in 2007 and became a human rights activist, reporter and speaker. Currently, Park stays in Seoul, South Korea with her mother and older sister