The day of North Korea’s opening seems closer than ever. At its opening, multinational capitalist giants and savvy South Korean investors will look to buy up the undeveloped lands and exploit the cheap North Korean labor. Social class divides are all too predictable along the North-South cleavage. South Koreans will hold grudges against North Koreans for the burdens associated with social welfare; North Koreans will be disgruntled as they begin to feel disadvantaged by the discriminatory system and society. Nonetheless, the prospect of North Korea’s opening also presents us with a unique opportunity to envision and realize a new model of society where North Koreans are no longer left behind or suffer discrimination, but are valued and heard.
ENoK is a Chicago-based 501(C)3 nonprofit organization that assists refugees from North Korea with their resettlement and adjustment to the new life in the U.S. ENoK’s largest program to date, Empower House, provides a safe shelter and other living necessities for selected North Korean refugees while they receive free academic coaching and career counseling from ENoK’s volunteer staff. Andrew’s vision is to bring his work with ENoK into North Korea when the country opens. By building a track record of impact for North Korean refugees in the U.S., ENoK and Andrew will be in a unique position to spearhead the effort to help North Korean people compete and lead a decent life in the new open market society. Armed with ENoK’s acute understanding of North Korean people and the community of North Korean refugees the group will have developed, ENoK and Andrew will have best positioned themselves to provide services that North Koreans can willingly seek and readily access. Andrew envisions North Korean refugee graduates of ENoK’s current programs to join its future efforts in North Korea.
Andrew earned his MPP in 2018 at the Harvard Kennedy School, where he was a Carnesale Fellow. He is the founder and Executive Director of ENoK and currently sits on the Board of Directors of NKinUSA, a nonprofit organization of North Korean refugees based in Washington D.C. Andrew is a recipient of 2017 Community Service Award for the Asian-American community by the State of Illinois and graduated from the University of Chicago with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Economics. Born and raised in Seoul, South Korea, Andrew moved to New England by himself at the age of eleven.