Yeonmi Park

Human Rights Advocate

Headshot photo of Yeonmi Park

Human rights advocate Yeonmi Park had to learn how to be free. At the age of 13, she and her mother escaped from the deprivations of North Korea by crossing a frozen river into China. But as she relates in her harrowing memoir, In Order to Live: A North Korean Girl’s Journey to Freedom, this was just the beginning of a series of ordeals that involved sex traffickers, family separation, and more. Eventually making her way to South Korea and then to the United States, Park has made it her mission to open the world’s eyes not only to the horrors of Kim Jong-Un’s regime and the plight of her fellow North Koreans, but also to the enslavement of women refugees in China. Park became an international icon of resilience and bravery after a video of her address at the 2014 One Young World Summit went viral. Since then, her impassioned and deeply personal speech about her experiences has been viewed more than 80 million times.