Reunification of the Korean peninsula is an ideal endgame that Koreans have desired, fought for, and failed ever since its division in 1945. It is also one of the best ways we know that could permanently end the human suffering occurring in North Korea. But when we consider how far apart North and South Korea have grown from each other, we can see that unification can bring immense social conflict and irreparable strife unless we also address the issue of cultural and human reunification of the peninsula.
Far too often, the world has forgotten about North Korean defectors. They are the only population in the world with intimate, lived experiences from both sides of the border, living beyond being “North” and “South” Koreans to simply becoming Koreans: the first citizens of a unified peninsula that has yet to come. We cannot know how a country and its people that have been cut off from the rest of the world for more than 70 years could relate and connect to one of the most modernized societies in the world, but defectors live and breathe this answer.
Our goal as an organization is to empower defectors through education and developmental opportunities to develop the voice and agency Korea will need to lead them towards a truly unified peninsula.