Yeonmi Park

Human Rights Activist

Twenty-five-year-old human rights activist and North Korean defector Yeonmi Park is fast becoming a leading voice of oppressed people around the world.

At the 2014 Oslo Freedom Forum and the One Young World Summit in Dublin, she became an international phenomenon, delivering passionate and deeply personal speeches about the brutality of the North Korean regime. Park’s escape from North Korea has given the world a window into the lives of its people. The BBC named her one of their Top Global Women. In 2017, Park joined the Tory Burch Foundation's Embrace Ambition campaign, a global effort to dispel the double standard of ambition as a positive trait in men and a negative trait in women.

Yeonmi's searing memoir about her escape, In Order to Live: A North Korean Girl's Journey to Freedom, was released in the fall 2015. Yeonmi has taken it upon herself to tell the story of millions, urging the world to recognize the oppressed people of Kim Jong-Un’s reign. She believes that change will come through young people like herself, whose exposure to capitalism and Western media is eroding the authority of the Kim dynasty.

Currently, a student at Columbia University, Yeonmi has published an op-ed about North Korea’s “Black Market Generation” in the Washington Post, and has been featured on CNN, CNBC, and the BBC, as well as in The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal. She serves on the executive board of directors of the Human Rights Foundation, the world’s pre-eminent organization devoted to disrupting dictatorships.