A presentation for lecture/performance credit, “Liberty in North Korea,” took place on Nov. 11 in the basement of Schwitzer. The event drew approximately 50 students and lasted 40 minutes. Representative Madi Bouse presented the goals and achievements of the Liberty in North Korea organization. LiNK’s mission is the rescue and resettlement of North Korean refugees.
Bouse said that in the United States, any news or conversation about North Korea tends to be negative and focuses on its government. However, LiNK showed a different view of North Korea. Refugees are taken out through China and into northeast Asia, where they choose to resettle either in South Korea or the United States. The organization has rescued 405 refugees, including 76 trafficked women, according to Bouse.
She said LiNK team members are on the ground fundraising, starting rescue teams and telling their friends and families about a North Korea that is not defined by what appears in the news. It is an amazing country with amazing people who have tons of potential, according to LiNK Vice President Justin Wheeler.
A question-and-answer session was offered at the end of LiNK’s presentation but did not promote many questions, although over a dozen came up afterward mostly to inquire about the internships offered.
Various internship positions are available including social media internships, which require the ability to identify trends in social media, among other skills. A more adventurous opportunity is that of the rescue team’s intern, which involves traveling and sharing stories about North Korean people and raising funds to bring refugees to freedom.
The rescue teams have raised enough money to rescue 151 refugees, according to LiNK’s website. Nomad interns, like the presenters at UIndy, spend six weeks in training at LiNK headquarters in California in preparation for eight weeks on the road speaking about the realities of North Korea.
Those refugees who have been rescued leave North Korea at the risk of their own lives, said Bouse. Even if they are lucky enough to find refuge through LiNK, Bouse said, they may never see their families again. Through LiNK’s Refugee Rescues Program, 185 refugees have been reunited with their families, according to the organization’s website.
Sophomore nursing major Hannah Drury attended the event for L/P credit but also enjoyed the presentation and its message.
“It was worth having a lecture on North Korea … to reduce the stigma,” she said.
Sophomore applied psychology major Aubrey Haas attended the presentation for a second time.
“I came to this event last year, and I want to do a summer internship with them,” Haas said. “I just think it’s a really powerful message about freedom, which we take for granted here.”