Yeonmi Park is set to visit DePauw University on October 5th, 2015 to give a speech on her life story. The speech will also include horrors of human trafficking and importance of human freedom. The visit will make her the youngest-ever Timothy and Sharon Ubben lecturer.
The 5th October lecture will be just one day after the North Korean defector turns 22 years. Her already popular book, “In Order to Live”, will be published six days before the lecture. Her speech will be at exactly 7:30 p.m inside the Kresge Auditorium. Yoenmi Park is expected to host a question and answer session at the same venue just after the speech. She will also use the session for book signing. The lecture follows the standard Ubben Lectures’ protocols and, therefore, will be open to everyone free of charge.
Yeonmi Park’s story is one of the most powerful stories from North Korean defectors. North Korea is considered the darkest and the most repressive regime globally. After escaping from North Korea, Park established herself as a vocal human rights activist even before turning twenty years. Her human rights campaign has earned her a place in BBC’s ‘Top 100 Global Women’.
When Park was born, her parents were civil servants. They lived in Hyesan City. The city is located near the North Korean-Chinese border. As a child, like many North Koreans, she believed dying for the North Korean regime was the most honorable thing. This belief was changed when she watched a pirated copy of the movie Titanic.
Yeonmi Park’s life changed sharply in 2002 when North Korea was faced with famine. Her father, in an effort to save the family from starvation, was forced to smuggle silver, gold and nickel to traders from China. He was caught and sentenced to a 17 year imprisonment term in a labor camp. Due to harsh conditions in the camp, he fell ill and was released to get medical care. Park’s escape from North Korea had begun.
The family managed to escape in three phases. The first phase involved the escape of Park’s sisters; second phase was the escape of Park and her mother; while the final phase was the escape of her father. The 2007 escape was by the help of human traffickers and involved escaping into china before relocating to South Korea. China hunts down North Korean defectors and deports them back. Park’s father died from colon cancer in 2009 and one of her sisters is still missing.
DePauw University’s website, where I read the original article from, also says Yeonmi Park has been featured by several media houses including CNBC, CNN, New York Times, BBC and Wall Street Journal. Park’s visit to the university is expected to draw a huge audience and also give non-North Koreans a glimpse of North Korea. Attendants should show up early in order to catch the whole speech.
Original article: http://www.depauw.edu/news-media/latest-news/details/31750/