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Video: Dan Bielefeld on Ways to Get Involved in the North Korea Human Rights Movement

September 16, 2013

Dan Bielefeld until very recently was the English-language webmaster at NKnet and helped organize our speaker series. He has also volunteered with several other North Korean human rights groups in the Washington, D.C. area and Seoul, South Korea. This talk on ways to get involved in the North Korea human rights movement was held in Sinchon, Seoul, on May 16, 2012. A list of contents is available immediately below the embedded video.

Video Timeline

2:09 Barriers to entry

– knowledge of North Korean Human Rights (NKHR)
– foreigners in South Korea don’t know NKHR groups
– language
– culture
  – last-minute planning & changes
  – partnering vs. looking up/down at others
– need to be more proactive, i.e., keep contacting them

7:33 situation of NKHR groups in Seoul

– most are small, underfunded, underpaid, understaffed — can be a reason they don’t get back to you, are not very organized, etc.
– traditionally there’s not a culture of private giving in South Korea — most groups rely on donations from overseas, eg, NED (the National Endowment for Democracy)

13:50 how to learn of events beforehand

– the 자유게시판/freeboard on Korean organizations’ websites — groups post events on each others’ boards
– build personal relationships, go out with people after events

17:05 long run advice

– learn Korean now!
free online course from Sogang University (beginner – intermediate)
free dialogues with MP3s and transcripts (intermediate)
– getting a work visa: major, degree, and work experience in a related field
– getting a residence visa: point system – F-2-7
  – get points worksheet from immigration
  – age, education (bonus for studying here), Korean language score, volunteering, etc.
– study social work if helping refugees settle in your country

28:50 laundry list of ways to get involved in NKHR

(from anywhere)
– send messages of hope, e.g.: VOICE
– petition governments
  – your country’s embassies in Asia need to have policies to protect refugees
  – to Chinese government re: forced repatriation of refugees
  – power in numbers – give the cost of just 2-3 cups of coffee / month
    – in South Korea, the CMS monthly donation system
– talk about the issue
  – for teachers, discuss in your classroom, be the adviser to the school NKHR club
– organize a speaking event, documentary screening, and/or fundraiser
– host an exhibition on NKHR – materials available


(getting involved in South Korea)
– foreigners attending events sometimes means better media coverage
– send socks via balloon
– tutor refugees in English
– prepare now for returning to your country — getting to know groups now will make doing events/fundraisers back home much easier


– translation
– occasional transcribing
– editing

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