“Come and listen”; UVU YAF to host North Korean defector and activist Yeonmi Park 

Reading Time: 2 minutes Young Americans Foundation Chapter President Michael Erickson discussed the chapter’s upcoming event with Yeonmi Park, North Korean defector and conservative advocate.

Reading Time: 2 minutes

North Korean defector and political activist Yeonmi Park is set to speak at UVU as a part of a collaboration between the UVU Young Americans Foundation chapter and the Herbert Institute

Set to take place on Feb. 7, the YAF UVU Chapter President Michael Erickson sat down with The Review to encourage students to hear Park’s message regarding her experiences in North Korea and her warnings of communism in the world. 

“Yeonmi Park is probably the most famous, or definitely one of the most famous, North Korean escapees that has immigrated to the United States,” Erickson asserted. “When she comes to campuses, she speaks about her experience in North Korea, the North Korean regime, and what they do to the people, and she warns against socialist and communist trends in America.” 

Park was born in Hyesan, North Korea, in 1993 and fled the country with her mother in 2007 at the age of 13. Since then, she has published two books about her experiences, which have sold thousands of copies worldwide. Park has said she witnessed executions, the extent of the gulag system, and the torture that occurs in North Korea. 

According to Park, after escaping North Korea, her family was bought by sex traffickers in China. She would later seek asylum in Mongolia and made her way to South Korea. She later would come to America and now has become a conservative political activist. 

“On college campuses, I think you see an advocacy of socialist and communist countries and leaders, and free societies in the West are demonized,” Erickson continued. “People don’t understand the realities of communistic regimes like North Korea. We play down how harmful and how oppressive they actually are, and Yeonmi Park is a reality check.” 

Erickson later emphasized in The Review’s interview that he hoped all would “come and listen” to what Park has to say, especially if people disagreed with her. “She is going to talk about a lot of promises that were made to the North Korean people, and these are the same promises that those who advocate for socialism are doing.” 

During the interview Erickson was asked if he was worried about possible protests against Park, to which he said he was not. 

It should be noted that some of Park’s claims are disputed by reporters and analysts of North Korean affairs. However, Park has maintained that her story is true and that inconsistencies are due to translation issues and her age at the time of escape. 

Park is set to speak on Feb. 7 at 7 p.m. in the Keller Building (KB101), and the first 15 guests will receive a signed copy of her book “While Time Remains: A North Korean Defectors Search for Freedom in America.” For more information, visit the Herbert Institute’s Website.