Preparing for a Democratic Future of North Korea: Next Generation Leadership

July 22, 2024
03:00 pm - 04:30 pm

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About the Event

Ten years after the UN Commission of Inquiry on the DPRK report concluded the North Korean regime had committed crimes against humanity, the human rights situation in North Korea remains dire, and seems hopeless at times. However, North Korean defectors who found freedom in South Korea, the US, and other free societies, are more motivated than ever to fight for the fundamental rights and freedoms of North Korean citizens. In particular, a growing number of passionate and visionary young leaders from the defector communities across the world are not only advocating for the advancement of human rights but also preparing themselves to play an important role in a future democratic North Korea. Having witnessed firsthand the changes happening on the ground within North Korea – the rise of informal market systems, high demand for outside information, and the budding capacity of North Koreans to think critically and question the regime – these young defector leaders are well positioned to bring new ideas to strengthen the North Korean human rights movement and new approaches to support democratic change in North Korea.

The National Endowment for Democracy, the ROK Ministry of Unification, and Human Asia will showcase the diversity and talent of these emerging leaders, including journalists, artists, entrepreneurs, and activists, and provide them with a platform to share their vision and strategy for North Korea’s democratic future. Join us to hear directly from the next generation of leaders in a fireside chat and discuss ways to support a free and democratic North Korea.

About the Speakers

Damon Wilson  is president and chief executive officer of the National Endowment for Democracy. Prior to joining NED, Mr. Wilson served as executive vice president at the Atlantic Council, as special assistant to the president and senior director for European affairs at the National Security Council (NSC), as executive secretary and chief of staff at the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad, and as deputy director in the private office of the NATO Secretary General. Mr. Wilson began his career with Save the Children in Rwanda. He is a graduate of Duke University and Princeton’s School of Public and International Affairs.

Minister Yung Ho Kim is the Minister of Unification of the Republic of Korea since July 28, 2023. Prior to being appointed as a minister, he served as chairman of Unification Future Planning Committee, Ministry of Unification and professor of political science and diplomacy, Sungshin Women’s University. Minister Kim received his B.A from Seoul National University, M.A in Boston University, and Ph.D at the University of Virginia, U.S.A.

Ambassador Julie Turner was sworn in as the U.S. Special Envoy for North Korean Human Rights Issues on October 13, 2023. Ambassador Turner is globally recognized an expert in the area of human rights and democracy and has worked over the past 20 years to strengthen democratic institutions and promote human rights throughout the East Asia and Pacific Region. Most recently, she served as the Office Director in the Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor (DRL) Office of East Asia and the Pacific at the U.S. Department of State and previously was the Director for Southeast Asia at the National Security Council. During her time at the State Department, she served as the special assistant to the first U.S. Special Envoy for North Korean Human Rights and worked as a program analyst in the Bureau of Information Resource Management Office of eDiplomacy. As a career civil service employee and former Presidential Management Fellow, Ambassador Turner has dedicated her career to advancing human rights around the world. Ambassador Turner is a graduate of Pepperdine University and the University of Maryland.

Jitae You, Actor/Ministry of Unification Ambassador on North Korean Human Rights

Image courtesy of Kang Chunhyok, defector artist.


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