The 21 Year-old Author And International Phenomenon, Yeonmi Park

In the article, Human Rights Activist Yeonmi Park, Youngest-Ever Ubben Lecturer, Coming to DePauw October 5 that was published on the DePauw website, the writer gives a brief bio on the youngest lecturer to have ever graced the Ubben Lectures since it was formed back in 1986.

The article points out that Yeonmi will be sharing her defection story from North Korea, the nightmares human trafficking and Yeonmi’s vision of having a world that can experience freedom.

The article points out that Yeonmi Park is going to be youngest person to have ever given an Ubben lecture. She is now 21 but will be 22 years old when she gives the lecture on Monday, October 5. A day before the lecture, October 4, will be the young activist’s birthday. The closest person to Park’s age who gave an Ubben Lecture was a 24 year old, Liz Murray back in April 2005 and is closely followed by Andrew Luck, 25.

DePauw’s article on Park mention that her speech will kick off at 7.30 p.m. in the Green Centre’s Kresge Auditorium. This will be followed by a Question and Answer (Q&A) session as well as book signing session. Park’s book called, In Order to Live: A North Korean Girl’s Journey to Freedom. The book will have been published 6 days before her lecture.

A NY Times article takes us through Park’s journey that has earned her recognition as a voice of the oppressed and seen her earn a spot on BBC’s list of “Top 100 Global Women.” She was born in Hyesan, a city in North Korea that borders China. Having grown up in North Korea, she had limited exposure to the outside world and believed the highest honor accorded to anyone is to die for the regime. This changed when she watched a pirated movie, Titanic.

Things took a turn in 2002 when her father was arrested for smuggling gold and silver to Chinese traders. He was soon released as he fell sick. In 2007, they plotted their escape but her father chose to remain behind because he was ill. Human trafficker helped them cross to China but were savages as told in the article as she witnessed them rape her mother. They hid from the Chinese authorities while in China but in 2009, after crossing to Mongolia they sought refuge in the South Korean embassy.

DePauw’s article mentions that in 2014 at the Olso Freedom Forumand One Young World Summit, she gave a passionate speech on the cruelty of the North Korea regime. This made her an international phenomenon and she ended up being featured on CNBC, CNN, Wall Street Journal and New York Times.

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