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The 13th World Festival of Youth and Students was held in the North Korean capital almost thirty years ago next month. A global gathering of international Communist Party-affiliated youth organizations, it represented something of a last hurrah for a world that was soon to disappear in a storm of revolution and unrest.
Hosted by North Korea — in large part as a response to the South’s successful hosting of the 1988 Summer Olympic Games — the festival cost the country billions and saw thousands of international students descend on Pyongyang for an event devoted to “Anti-Imperialist Solidarity, Peace and Friendship.”
Tobias Kjellström and Monique Macias were present in Pyongyang during the festival, albeit in very different circumstances.
Tobias was part of a Swedish delegation, chiefly responsible for playing music with his band, while Monique, originally born in Equatorial Guinea, had lived in North Korea for several years by the time of the festival and had a first-row seat to the buzz, the excitement, and change on the ground.
Tobias Kjellström was an indie musician visiting Pyongyang for the festival, and is now a teacher in Stockholm.
Monique Macias was born in Equatorial Guinea and grew up in Pyongyang, North Korea — an experience you can read about here. She graduated at the University of Light Industry, with a BA as a Textile Engineer. Since leaving North Korea, Macias has been working as a fashion designer in countries including Spain, South Korea, and the U.S. She now lives in London, England.
About the podcast: The “North Korea News Podcast” is a weekly podcast hosted exclusively by NK News, covering all things DPRK: from news to extended interview with leading experts and analysts in the field and insight from our very own journalists.
Featured image: Tobias Kjellström