Out of all of the speeches during this USA trip, my expectations were lowest for the speech at American University.

  • It was arranged by new TNKR volunteer Lauren Monahan. From previous experience, when the person with the idea isn’t on the scene to make things happen then events or activities don’t go very well.
  • The professor, Jin Park, has no connection to NK refugee issues, she focuses on philosophy, and I think she was hosting the event as a favor.
  • I had no idea where the building was so I couldn’t direct others there, meaning I couldn’t expect anyone I know to show up.

I arrived early, wondering if anyone would show up. At least the flyer had been posted near the room.

Well well well!!! It turned out to be a great success! The room was full, a few people were even standing. There were many questions from audience members. It helped that I was the only speaker, so I was able to go into a little more detail than when I’m on a panel. Because my only event the day before was a Happy Hour Fundraiser, I had a chance to review my PPT and to make a few updates based on questions I had received.

The event was recorded so I should be able to share some photos soon.

After speaking, I had a lively Q&A session. Then it was time to meet the audience members! Several of them praised TNKR for its great work.

It was fun talking to the ladies from George Mason University. They are studying education, so of course they didn’t agree with everything I said. I think they could see, however, that our focus is not on being experts or trying to design the perfect system, but on creating options for NK refugees to find their own way.

Yanghee Jang of VOA covered the event, first she interviewed several people, including Prof. Park and TNKR volunteer and monthly donor John Drugan.

Then it was time for Yanghee to interview me!

Some of it was serious… but also a lot of it wasn’t!

I finished with an interview with a student doing research about South Korean policy related to North Korean refugees, then talked at length with a Facebook friend who has followed me for years but never said anything. Thankfully I didn’t delete him when I recently deleted the names of people I didn’t recognize! 🙂

So that was it! The event that didn’t look promising turned out to be fantastic! As they say in sports, “That’s why they play the game.” Predictions and guesses don’t mean anything once the game starts, there are constantly surprises and upsets.

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