According to a story that featured on DePauw University’s website, Yeonmi Park will give an Ubben Lecture On the 5th of October at the University. She will be 22 years old after celebrating her birthday the day before. Park will share her exceptional story about how she and her family luckily freed North Korea, and passed through china to get to South Korea. Yeonmi is passionate about universal freedom after fighting to get her own.
The lecture will commence at 7:30 p.m. Park will then field questions from the audience, and then sign books later on. She will make history by joining other esteemed speakers who have graced the event over the years. They include Bill Clinton, Jimmy Kimmel, Tony Blair and Margaret Thatcher among many others. The forum was started in 1986 by Sharon Williams and Timothy H.
Park’s inspiring story of freeing North Korea, at a time when the regime was harsh as ever, has set her apart as a voice of those in captivity in North Korea and the rest of the world. BBC even featured her on their list of “Top 100 Global Women” for her great work as a human rights activist. She has also spoken in Dublin during the One Young World Summit and during the Freedom Forum in Oslo.
Park was raised in the city of Hyesan. While she was growing up, the regime in power was notorious for controlling every aspect of their lives. However, after watching the movie Titanic, which had been banned in North Korea, Park got to experience a new form of freedom. Although she had grown up knowing that there was nothing better than losing your life for the sake of the regime, the movie’s depiction of someone dying for love made her view the world from a different angle.
After Engaging in illegal smuggling to be able to provide for his family, the Guardian recounts that Yeonmi Park’s father was arrested, imprisoned and tortured. He got a medical release after contracting an illness, and decided that they had had enough of North Korea: it was time to flee the country. While Park and family set out to escape to South Korea, she didn’t have the slightest clue of what the journey had in store. In the course of the journey, she would separate and reunite with her sister, witness as her mother was raped, and later bury her father, who had finally succumbed to his illness.
Park has written a book, In Order to Live: A North Korean Girl’s Journey to Freedom, where she documents some of these horrific experiences. She wants the world to be aware of people like her, who are still in captivity and appear to have been forgotten.