The Richmond Register

January 19, 2013

Author to speak at EKU Thursday

Kim wrote book on modern-day underground railroad between north Korea and China


Special to the Register

RICHMOND — The author of a book chronicling an underground railroad that has helped hundreds of thousands of North Koreans to flee to China will address the topic at Eastern Kentucky University on Thursday, Jan. 24.

Mike Kim’s lecture, at 7:30 p.m. in O’Donnell Hall of the Student Success Building, is part of the University’s year-long Chautauqua series titled “Crossroads.” The event, sponsored by the EKU Cultural Center and The Office of Student Life, is free and open to the public.

“Escaping North Korea,” published in 2010, is a first-of-its-kind look into the hidden world of North Koreans. Kim, who worked with refugees on the Chinese border for four years, recounts their experiences of enduring famine, sex-trafficking and torture, as well as the inspirational stories of those who overcame adversity to escape the oppressive regime of their homeland and make new lives.

“There are many heroes in Mr. Kim’s book,” wrote the Wall Street Journal, “not least the author himself.”

In his EKU lecture, Kim will tell the story of how he left his financial planning business in Chicago, moved near the China-North Korean border and began to operate undercover as a student of North Korean taekwondo, training and competing under two famous North Korean masters while leading North Korean refugees to safety via a 6,000-mile underground railroad that led from Pyongyang to Bangkok. Upon his return to the U.S., Kim founded Crossing Borders, a non-profit organization dedicated to providing humanitarian assistance to North Korean refugees.

Kim has shared his story with audiences on five continents and is a frequent guest on television programs, including The Daily Show with Jon Stewart and CNN’s Anderson Cooper 300. A team of producers and writers are currently developing a motion picture script built around Kim’s book. He resides in Washington, D.C., where he is a consultant and a term member of the Council on Foreign Relations.

To see the complete schedule of the 2012-13 EKU Chautauqua Lectures, visit www.chautauqua.eku.edu. For more information, contact Chautauqua Lecture Coordinator Dr. Minh Nguyen at minh.nguyen@eku.edu.