Suzanne K. Scholte

Suzanne K. Scholte

North Korean policy expert Suzanne K. Scholte will present “The Battle for Human Rights in North Korea: Is There Any Hope for Change?” at 7 p.m. Tuesday, April 11, in the Escalante Room of the Julia N. Visor Academic Center inside Hewett-Manchester residence halls. This talk is sponsored by AsiaConnect and the Office of the President.

Topics discussed will be what sets North Korea apart for human rights violations, what changes have occurred that give advocates hope, and what can be expected from Trump’s administration. Questions and answers will follow the talk.

Scholte is president of the Defense Forum Foundation, a nonprofit foundation promoting a strong national defense and freedom, democracy, and human rights abroad. Scholte is considered one of the world’s leading activists in the North Korean human rights movement. She has spent the past two decades promoting the freedom and dignity of the North Korean people.

Scholte established and chairs the North Korea Freedom Week, which has been held annually since 2004 and promotes the freedom, human rights and dignity of the North Korean people. She is credited with starting Save North Korean Refugees Day in 2009, a day that promotes awareness and action to save North Korean refugees. Currently, Scholte also serves as chairman of the North Korea Freedom Coalition, vice-co-chair of the Committee for Human Rights in North Korea, and honorary chairman of Free North Korea Radio.

In recognition of her efforts, Scholte was named the 2008 Seoul Peace Prize Laureate, and was made an honorary citizen of Seoul the same year. She also won the 2010 Walter Judd Freedom Award, the 2013 Order of Diplomatic Service Merit Sungnye Medal from the Republic of Korea, the 2014 Sanders Peace and Social Justice Award, and a Gold Volunteer Service Award from the president of the United States in 2014.

The talk is part of the Illinois State University Speaker Series. The series seeks to bring innovative and enlightening speakers to the campus with the aim of providing the community with a platform to foster dialogue, cultivate enriching ideas, and continue an appreciation of learning as an active and lifelong process. All talks are free and open to the public.