Seohyun Lee

Keynote Speaker

Seo-Hyun Lee joined Freedom Speakers International’s North Korean Refugee Keynote Speakers Network in early 2021. She was a featured speaker at FSI’s International Freedom Conference in April 2021.

She was born and raised in central Pyongyang and received the most “prestigious” education in North Korea as a daughter of a high-level government official. From her elementary years at Kumsung Academy, which is well known to the outside world as the first lady Ri Sul Ju’s school, to her language studies in Chinese and English at Pyongyang Foreign Languages School, she had a bright future ahead of her in North Korea’s elite society. In 2008 she enrolled at Kim Il Sung University and studied abroad at China Dongbei University of Economics and Finance. However, after experiencing a series of brutal purges of innocent people by the Kim Jong Un regime, her family defected to South Korea and finally resettled in the United States in 2016.

Since resettling in America, she has immersed herself in North Korea issues as a human rights advocate, commentator, and YouTube creator (PyongHattan). Leveraging her unique position and experiences as a North Korean defector, she has extensively engaged in strategically disseminating outside information to people inside North Korea and raising awareness of the human rights abuses to the public. Her aspiring vision and ultimate goal are to free the North Korean people and build a liberal democratic system in North Korea. She was awarded the 2022 North Korea Freedom Scholarship from the Bush Foundation. Seohyun will begin her graduate studies in Fall 2022 at Columbia University’s School of Public Affairs (SIPA).