Hyeonseo Lee’s story is a tale bound to pull at your heartstrings. She’s a North Korean refugee — and while helping her family flee the country in 2009, Lee’s mother and brother were detained in a Laos prison. At TED2013, Lee described how it was an enormously generous gift from a stranger that helped her […]Continue reading
Why you should listen
Hyeonseo Lee grew up in North Korea but escaped to China in 1997. In 2008, when she was 28-years-old, she came to Seoul, South Korea, where she struggled to adjust to life in the bustling city. North Korean defectors often have a hard time in South Korea, she noted in the Wall Street Journal: "We defectors have to start from scratch. Prejudice against North Koreans and icy stares were other obstacles that were hard to cope with."
Now a student at Hankuk University of Foreign Studies, she has become an advocate for fellow refugees, even helping close relatives leave North Korea after they were targeted. Her dream? As she told the Korea Times, she'd like to work at the UN or an NGO that advocates for the human rights of North Koreans, including their right to be treated as political refugees.
She has a new book called The Girl with Seven Names.
What others say
“"The most riveting TED Talk ever." -- Oprah in Oprah Magazine "A brave & beautiful voice; a story which needs light and air." -- Tanya Michelle on TED.com” —
Hyeonseo Lee’s TED talk
More news and ideas from Hyeonseo Lee
A total stranger helped Hyeonseo Lee pay her mother and brother’s way out of jail as they fled from North Korea. Now, four years later, Lee has been reunited with that stranger, getting the chance to thank him in person. In Lee’s TED2013 talk, “My escape from North Korea,” she describes defecting from North Korea […]Continue reading
Your weekend reading: The wrong kind of Caucasian, the graduate school question, and how the Internet ruined everything
A weekly round-up of interesting, weird and useful reads from around the interwebs. In “The wrong kind of Caucasian,” Sarah Kendzior critiques the media for its tendency to demonize an entire country based on the violent acts of a few individuals. [Al Jazeera] “The Internet: A Warning from History,” or how the Internet ruined everything. […]Continue reading