Teaching Canadiana to North Korean Defectors

In the week of 20 February the Canadian Embassy in Seoul is launching a new program that will teach Canadian English and the Canadian way of life to North Korean defectors. At the core of the curriculum are Canadian values and concepts such as multiculturalism and parliamentary democracy. 

There are currently some 5,000 Canadian English teachers in South Korea. From among these, a select group of volunteers have been chosen to expose groups of defectors (most of whom already studying at universities in Seoul) to Western culture and global perspectives, at the same time reinforcing Canada’s longstanding commitment to human rights, and to peaceful reunification on the Korean peninsula.

Canadian Embassy in Seoul (photo by CanKor)

The project is organized in partnership with the Citizen’s Alliance for North Korean Human Rights, the winner of Canada’s inaugural Diefenbaker Human Rights Award in March 2011. The NKHR has identified Canadian teachers to assist with curriculum development and teach the initial course.

ROK government support has been received via a diplomatic note and in a meeting between Canadian Ambassador David Chatterson and Chun Yung-woo, Senior Secretary to the ROK President for Foreign Affairs and National Security.

The courses will be taught in the Embassy’s public area classroom. One wonders whether, along with learning about Canadian values, the students will gain a healthy appetite for establishing a new life for themselves in Canada–and with what enthusiasm Canadian authorities will welcome them as potential citizens.

For further details about this initiative, including objectives, activities and participants, please see: Inside Canada Defectors Program.

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