A Conversation with North Korean Defector, Mr. Kang Cheol Hwan: the Future of North Korea and Freedom of Information

Young Professionals in Foreign Policy will be joining the North Korea Strategy Center (NKSC) for a discussion with North Korean defector, Mr. Kang Cheol Hwan. Mr. Kang will speak about his experience in North Korea including prison camp conditions and his reasons for escaping, the current state of information freedom in North Korea, and NKSC US initiatives on freedom of information and leadership development and empowerment. Dr. David Shin from the MASY Group will moderate the discussion. 

Mr. Kang

Mr. Kang Cheol Hwan was born in 1968 in Pyongyang, North Korea. At age 9, Mr. Kang was sent along with his family to Yodok Concentration Camp after his grandfather was accused of treason. He spent 10 years in the prison camp, suffering brutal conditions, starvation and hard labor.  After being released, Mr. Kang eventually escaped North Korea, crossing into China in 1992 and eventually reaching South Korea. In 2000, he published the autobiographical “The Aquariums of Pyongyang”, the very first survivor’s account of North Korea’s concentration camps. In 2003, he was awarded the National Endowment of Democracy’s “Democracy Award” and in 2006, he was selected as one of Time Magazine’s “Asian Heroes”. In 2007, Mr. Kang established NKSC in Seoul, South Korea.  Mr. Kang is a contributing author to the Chosun Ilbo on North Korean issues.

Dr. David Shin is an Associate at MASY Group and has been a contract staff member of the NIU faculty since 2011. He has over 25 years of U.S. Army intelligence experience. This includes collaboration and coordination with Allies and Partners in the Asia-Pacific region during various staff and leadership assignments with the Second Infantry Division, Intelligence and Security Command (Chief and Special Agent in Charge, Security Liaison Detachment, Tokyo), 3rd Special Forces Group (A) (Counterintelligence Officer), Defense Intelligence Agency (Assistant Army Attaché-Seoul), United Nations Command Military Armistice Commission at Panmunjom (Staff Officer), Asia-Pacific Center for Security Studies (Senior Army Research Fellow), U.S. Army Pacific (G-5, Security Cooperation and Policy), and the Joint Staff (North Korea Desk Officer (Six-Party Talks Staff Officer) and Northeast Asia Division Chief, J-5). 



The North Korea Strategy Center U.S. Inc. (NKSC US) is an independent, non-profit, non-partisan organization. As a defector-led organization, NKSC US believes that North Koreans are leading change in North Korea. It accelerates this people powered change by providing a platform for North Korean voices. Their programs empower North Koreans within the country with access to information, while supporting defectors outside of North Korea with leadership development programs and international support networks. 


Donations to NKSC would be much appreciated. Click here to donate to the cause beforehand, or you can donate at the event.






December 07, 2016 at 6:30pm - 8pm
International Student House
1825 R St NW
Washington, DC 20009
United States
Google map and directions
Chelsea Dascher ·

Will you come?