December 05, 2023

A North Korean defector’s long journey from prison to the halls of academia

Kim Seong-ryeol tells NK News how he escaped the DPRK twice and became the first defector to work as an ROK professor

The path to becoming a university professor is rarely easy for any student, but it was especially difficult for Kim Seong-ryeol, a North Korean defector who escaped not once but twice in pursuit of education and freedom.

Kim started teaching international studies at Busan University of Foreign Studies earlier this month, in the process becoming the first North Korean escapee to serve as a South Korean professor, according to the university.