Keynote Speaker Hyeonseo Lee
“I was already hiding beneath so many lies that I hardly knew who I was anymore. I was becoming a non-person.” ― Hyeonseo Lee, The Girl with Seven Names: A North Korean Defector’s Story
The North Korean defector who fights for the rights of other North Koreans and talks about the communist regime in her Home Country.
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Hyeonseo Lee is a North Korean defector who now lives in Seoul.
Hyeonseo Lee is a North Korean defector who now lives in Seoul, South Korea. She escaped on foot from North Korea into China at the age of 17. In 2009 she even helped her family to escape North Korea as well. She chose the name Hyeonseo — whose two parts mean “sunshine” and “good luck,” which celebrates her new life of liberty in South Korea.
Hyeonseo Lee’s TED Talk
More than 15 million people have watched her TED talk not only about her life in North Korea. She also depicts her escape to China, and her following struggle to rescue her family. Hyeonseo informed about human rights in North Korea in front of a UN Security Council. Hyeonseo discussed these problems also with leading figures such as UN Ambassador Samantha Powers.
She finished university in English and Chinese at Hankuk University of Foreign Studies and became a young director at the Center for Strategic and International Studies. Hyeonseo Lee spends her time talking about human rights in North Korea and the problems of North Korean refugees.
Hyeonseo Lee has lectured at Stanford University’s Global Speaker Series, New York University Law School, Princeton University, and several other locations throughout Europe. She discussed these issues in person with public persons such as British Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg and also South Korean Secretary of Unification Yu Woo-ik.
She wishes that in the future, Korea will unite. Until then, she fights for the rights of North Korean defectors, who sacrificed everything to get to freedom. After the cross the borders, they are often suspected to be North Korean spies or Chinese citizens who want to live in South Korea. They also risk to be deported back to North Korea, be tortured and publicly executed.
Hyeonseo Lee’s publications
In July 2015 her memoirs called “The Girl With Seven Names” were published in more than 20 countries and have immediately become a worldwide bestselling book. Her real name is unknown. She is writing another book with the assistance of other North Korean women living in South Korea. Hesonseo’s plans for the future include establishing an organization that helps inspiring North Korean refugees to connect with the international community.
Hyeonseo writes articles for the Wall Street Journal Korea Real-Time, the New York Times, the London School of Economics Big Ideas’ blog. She also worked as a student journalist for the South Korean Ministry of Unity. The BBC has interviewed her, following by CNN, CBS News, and many other television stations, radio stations, and newspapers worldwide.