GWIKS was proud to host a film screening of “Secret State of North Korea: Explore Life Under
Kim Jong-Un” and a Q&A panel with North Korean defector students from Hana Foundation’s Leadership
Program. The event took place on January 24 with a dinner reception of traditional Korean cuisine. Over
250 guests including students, faculty, and non-GWU affiliated guests attended the event, one of the
highest turnouts for a GWIKS event.
Director Jisoo M. Kim started the screening with warm opening remarks, thanking all audience
members and program participants for making the event possible. Afterwards, Shin Hyo Sook, the Head
of Department of Educational Development, gave an introductory talk about Hana Foundation and their
mission to aid North Korean refugees in South Korea.
The hour-long screening of Frontline’s “Secret State of North Korea” depicted the harsh living
conditions of many people in North Korea. Interviews of North Korean refugees revealed detailed
personal accounts of hunger and torture in North Korea. Some of them were shown working alongside
activist groups in South Korea in order to smuggle DVD’s and radios after moving to South Korea.
According to the activists and statistical reports, the influence of foreign media had a great influence
and popularity on North Korean citizens.
A Q&A followed the screening with Professor Gregg A. Brazinsky moderating the panel. The
audience members were asked to write down questions for the defector students who answered from a
selection with the assistance of an interpreter. Many audience members were curious about everyday
life in North Korea, one member asking how easy it was to travel within the country. Others asked their thoughts regarding reunification. The students answered to the best of their knowledge and offered valuable insight and thoughts on a variety of related issues.
The end of the Q&A was met with a round of applause from the audience and many thanks from
Hana Foundation and GWIKS. The popularity of the event speaks to the high level of interest in North
Korea-related topics and dedication to opening up more discourse on the issue of the division. We hope
to see everyone again at our upcoming events!
Written by Soo-jin Kweon