Anika Lee ’22

People for Successful Corean Reunification (PSCORE), Korea

I had the privilege of working as a research intern at People for Successful Corean Reunification (PSCORE) this past summer. PSCORE is a nonprofit NGO that seeks to unify North and South Korea to protect the rights of the citizens in the North. For my first project, I helped complete the organization’s upcoming publication on Digital Rights in North Korea. The report analyzed the state of privacy rights, media access, and censorship in the North. The concept of “digital rights” was already familiar, but understanding the concept became a lot easier when observing the state of the DPRK in the absence of these rights. I also had the opportunity to listen to and read through firsthand experiences of the defectors’ experiences with technology while working through this project. Before starting the internship, I had hoped to work with the defectors, at least indirectly. Though I had learned a lot about North Korea from an economic and military point of view, I gained an invaluable “human-centered” perspective of the DPRK’s policies.

Our response to the United Nations’ Call for Commentary.

I also worked with other interns to write commentary responding to the United Nations’ Call for Commentary on the Draft Convention on the Right to Development. The UN invites some relevant organizations to send textual suggestions and comments on Conventions in progress. We made textual suggestions through the lens of the human rights situation in North Korea and wrote on how these additions will better help the international community realize the global right to development. It was a short but memorable project that I feel fortunate to have been a part of.

The organization also offers humanitarian aid and educational services to defectors residing in South Korea and China such as housing application aid and free tutoring. Though the students typically attend classes in person, PSCORE has been holding classes virtually since the start of the pandemic. I myself volunteered to teach English classes for defectors’ children over Zoom. I acted as a substitute teacher for a few classes when the regular teachers couldn’t make it. Teaching felt rather challenging because the students were shy about showing their faces on camera (props to all the teachers over the pandemic), but it was one of my favorite activities at PSCORE!

Overall, learning about the DPRK’s economy and its position in the international community in an academic setting has always been fascinating and urgent, but working at PSCORE strengthened my motivations to further pursue policy work in this area. I had been considering law school prior to this internship, but I realized that graduate school, rather than law school, would better suit my interests. I also came out of the internship more well-rounded and knowledgeable on how international organizations approach the human rights situations in the DPRK. I sincerely thank the ’68 Center and William Chapman ’64 for supporting my work at PSCORE this past summer. I am grateful to have had this opportunity to intern at an organization that does such necessary and noble work.