Three North Korean refugees will share their experiences in North and South Korea through different voices. Co-founder of Freedom Speakers International will share his experiences meeting with more than 500 North Koreans refugees and why North Korean refugees speak out.
After the forum, attendees will also be invited to watch “You Don’t Know,” a documentary highlighting North Korean refugees who suffered human rights abuses in North Korea.
Eunjoo Kim (North Korean refugee speaker)
Eunjoo Kim first escaped from North Korea in the late 1990s along with her mother and sister, but she and her mother were repatriated to North Korea. They later escaped again, making it to freedom in South Korea in 2008. Her memoir, A Thousand Miles to Freedom, has been published in seven languages, including French (2012) and English (2015). She first joined Freedom Speakers International (FSI) in June 2014 as an English language student and in February 2015, she was the winner of FSI’s 3rd English Speech Contest.
Youngnam Eom (North Korean refugee speaker)
After serving in the North Korean military for a decade, Youngnam Eom escaped from North Korea in 2010. He is a rare graduate of both a North Korean University and a South Korean graduate school. In 2000, he graduated from a North Korean University with a degree in railway operations. In 2019 he graduated from Korea University in South Korea with a master’s degree in Public Administration. In 2015, he joined Freedom Speakers International as both a public speaker and English language student. In 2019, he spoke at conferences at Harvard and Princeton Universities.
Taehee Kim (North Korean refugee speaker)
Taehee Kim escaped from North Korea in 1997 and escaped to South Korea in 2007. During the decade that she lived in China, she was repatriated to North Korea four different times. She is now the director of ‘North Korean Refugee Solidarity for Liberty and Human Rights. In 2019 she donated her part of kidney to a female North Korean refugee. In 2023, she was an operations director of the 3rd Seoul Larkspur International Film Festival focused on North Korean human rights movies and documentaries.
Casey Lartigue Jr., (Co-founder, Freedom Speakers International)
Casey Lartigue is an American with two decades of experience empowering marginalized people. After graduating from the Harvard University Extension School, he earned a master’s degree from the Harvard University Graduate School of Education where he began focusing on improving access to quality education opportunities for low-income people. He is co-author with North Korean refugee Songmi Han of her memoir Greenlight to Freedom: A North Korean Daughter’s Search for Her Mother and Herself. He is the chairman and is co-founder with South Korean researcher Eunkoo Lee of Freedom Speakers International (FSI), the Seoul-based NGO that has empowered more than 500 North Korean refugees with English language tutoring, public speaking and career development.