North Korea Strategy Center (NKSC) was founded in Seoul in 2007 by human rights defender, Yodok Concentration Camp survivor, journalist, and author of “Aquariums of Pyongyang”, Kang Cheol Hwan. Born in Pyongyang, at age 9 Kang was sent along with his family to Yodok Concentration Camp after his grandfather was accused of treason. Kang was imprisoned for 10 years, subject to the brutal conditions of the camp including starvation, dangerous and exhausting hard labor, and the constant threat of torture or execution.
After being released from Yodok, Kang bought an illegal radio receiver and was able to listen to broadcasts coming from South Korea. These broadcasts provided a glimpse into a world previously unknown to Kang, and influenced his decision to escape from North Korea. In South Korea, Kang worked as a journalist for Chosun Ilbo for over seven years and became a prominent human rights defender, championing North Korean human rights internationally. Kang’s personal experience lent him particular insight into the power of information and independent media in nurturing individual self-determination, broadening worldviews and developing an informed citizenry – a citizenry then empowered to play an active role in realizing a North Korea representative of its people.
With this focus in mind, NKSC works to engage and empower the defector community to bring increased awareness and understanding of North Korea’s human rights conditions, emphasizing the need for fundamental freedoms in North Korea as a key precondition of a peaceful, unified Korea. In 2015, NKSC US was established in New York as the first international office of the organization.
We are proud to have a global committed team of staff, interns and volunteers who contribute their talents to our work- see where we all hail from!