[Jonathan (alias) is a graduate from Empower House studying in college now. He visited the George W. Bush Presidential Center late November to discuss North Korean Human Rights and Education for Defectors. The reflection below was not translated by ENoK but written directly by Jonathan.]
For me as a North Korean refugee, it was an honor to be invited to Bush Institute for participating in a great conference. In late November, Bush Institute held a conference about discussing North Korea Human Rights issue and initiating a scholarship program for North Korean students who escaped from North Korea to find freedom and pursue academic goals. There were former President George W. Bush, Laura Bush, senator Cory Gardner, the special envoy Robert King, and other politicians, and North Korean refugees among over 300 activists in the conference.
North Korean Human Rights Issue and education for defectors were important points during the conference. Bush Center regards North Korea defectors and Korean-American community as important people for North Korean Human rights and the future of Korean Peninsula which is related to the national security of the United States. President George W. Bush inspires people especially in Korean-American community and the North Korean defectors to work together with him to improve the human condition in North Korea and help North Korean students who study in the United States. During the conference, I am inspired to follow my academic goals for the future, but without the help from ENoK, I would not be there as a student.
As many people, I am grateful to ENoK’s Empower House for teaching and leading me to attend a college and the opportunity to participate in the great conference in Bush Center. Through the intense program, ENoK helped me attain GED after studying 22 months. At the beginning of the ENoK program, I could not solve a fraction problem and could not write a complete English sentence. Many people say that it is a miracle to get GED in such a short time, and I strongly agree with them because ENoK program represents a miracle for North Korean people and the future of the North Korean community. Before attending ENoK program, I was afraid of and insecure about studying English and GED because I barely graduated from elementary school in North Korea. But as soon as I entered the program, I was able to find my potential in myself and gain confidence for my future. ENoK program is the house for North Korean defectors who are eager to succeed in American society, and who are uncertain and insecure about their future in the United States.
The conference in Bush Center inspires many people (who have freedom and respect human rights) to improve human conditions in North Korea and help North Korean students pursue academic goals in the United States. I am grateful to ENoK and former president George W. Bush for working for North Koreans and human freedom. Especially I admire ENoK program for recognizing the significance of education and putting its principle into practice many years ago.