Canadian Ambassador to Korea David Chaterson shakes hands with Rev. Benjamin Yoon of the Citizens’ Alliance for North Korean Human Rights at the Canadian Embassy during a signing ceremony, Wednesday.
/ Courtesy of the Canadian Embassy
By Philip Iglauer
The Canadian Embassy has teamed up with the Citizens’ Alliance for North Korean Human Rights (NKHR) to help North Korean defectors who are students here learn English starting from Feb. 22.
Canadian Embassy’s Inside Canada Defectors Program (ICDP) and the NKHR have selected 13 young people to learn English and culture in 22 sessions through May 25 at the Canadian Embassy in Seoul.
The embassy and NKHR held a reception to commemorate their pedagogic partnership at the embassy, Wednesday.
The program aims to provide students with exposure to global culture, including Canadian values and perspectives, in a native English-language context, the embassy said in a press release.
“We are very pleased to have this opportunity to help build a potential future generation of North Korean civil society through the mechanism of cultural exchange with our valued Canadian "global citizens" here in the South,” said Geoffrey Dean, counselor of the Political, Economic and Public Affairs Section of the Canadian Embassy here.
Canada launched this program for young people who fled North Korea because it has a deep and longstanding commitment to promoting North Korean human rights, and peaceful reconciliation on the Korean Peninsula, Canadian Embassy said in an email interview.
“We are always looking for ways to make a positive contribution. With this program, we are drawing on the large population of dedicated, talented, Canadian English teachers in South Korea to help young North Korean defectors achieve their goals through success in their university studies,” the embassy said in the statement.
The embassy said that the program is also designed to help alleviate “integration challenges” faced by young defectors in South Korea.
The ICDP will be run in partnership with NKHR and with support from the North Korean Refugees Foundation. It is free of charge for the students and will be taught by experienced Canadian English teachers on a volunteer basis.