President, Defense Forum Foundation
Suzanne K. Scholte is considered one of the world’s leading activists in the North Korea Human Rights Movement, having worked for 20 years to promote the freedom, human rights and dignity of the North Korean people. Scholte began a program in 1996 to host the first North Korean defectors in the United States to speak out about the atrocities being committed against the people of North Korea including the political prison camps and the horrific treatment of refugees. She has led international efforts to pressure China to end their horrific repatriation policy and has been involved in the rescue of hundreds of North Koreans escaping from North Korea. Currently, she serves as President of the Defense Forum Foundation; Chairman, North Korea Freedom Coalition; Vice-Chairman, Committee for Human Rights in North Korea; and Honorary Chairman, Free North Korea Radio.
She is the recipient of the 2008 Seoul Peace Prize Laureate, 2010 Walter Judd Freedom Award, 2013 Order of Diplomatic Service Merit Sungnye Medal from the Republic of Korea, 2014 Sanders Peace and Social Justice Award, and the Volunteer Service (Gold) Award from the President of the United States. She was made an Honorary Citizen of Seoul in 2008. Scholte is a graduate of the College of William and Mary and received an Honorary Doctorate in Education from Koshin University.
Executive Director, Committee for Human Rights in North Korea
Greg Scarlatoiu is Executive Director of the Committee for Human Rights in North Korea (HRNK) in Washington, D.C. A seasoned lecturer on North Korean human rights, political security and economic issues on the Korean peninsula, Scarlatoiu has appeared as an expert witness at several Congressional hearings on North Korean human rights. Scarlatoiu is an experienced social audit consultant, having conducted eleven annual surveys of compliance with International Labor Organization (ILO) core Conventions in South Korea. Prior to HRNK, he was with Korea Economic Institute (KEI) in Washington, D.C. Scarlatoiu has worked with the International Labor Organization’s Department for the Activity of Multinational Enterprises (ILO-MULTI) in Geneva, Switzerland. He has over six years’ experience in international development, having delivered technical assistance under missions funded by USAID, the World Bank and the Asian Development Bank. For thirteen years, he has been authoring and broadcasting the weekly Scarlatoiu Column to North Korea for Radio Free Asia (RFA). A visiting professor at Hankuk University of Foreign Studies (HUFS) in Seoul, Scarlatoiu co-chairs the Korean peninsula class at the State Department’s Foreign Service Institute (FSI). He holds a Master of Arts in Law and Diplomacy (MALD) from the Fletcher School, Tufts University; and an MA and BA from Seoul National University, Department of International Relations. Scarlatoiu was awarded the title of Citizen of Honor, City of Seoul, in January 1999. He is fluent in Korean, French and Romanian.
Program Coordinator, Castleton Festival
Orson Maazel is the Program Coordinator of the Castleton Festival’s annual “Time to Break Silence” events. This series of events brings together activists and artists who inspire audience members to take action against social injustice. Orson has hosted events at which North Korean defectors have performed music and shared their accounts of suffering. He has protested outside the Laotian and Chinese embassies in Washington D.C. to raise awareness about the brutal and unjust treatment of North Korean refugees and to demand that Laos and China stop forcibly repatriating refugees to North Korea. Orson and his family have donated to NKinUSA to rescue North Korean refugees in China and to help North Korean defectors resettle in the United States.
Founder and Director, ELI Homestay Delaware (retired)
Nancy Purcell is a former educator and recently retired from ELI (English Language Institute) Homestay Delaware, where she was the director for 11 years. During that time she worked with many international students, including some from Korea. Mrs. Purcell has worked with the North Korea Freedom Coalition and Suzanne Scholte for many years. She is on the Board of Advisors to Youth with a Mission (YWAM) Texas and is active in her church.
Kyu-Hong (Joshua) Choi
Pastor, Durihana Mission Church, Portland, Oregon
Kyu-Hong Choi (Joshua Choi) is a member of the Advisory Board of NKinUSA and a pastor of Durihana Mission Church for North Korean defectors in Portland, Oregon. Choi is affiliated with Presbyterian Church United America. He has been helping with missionary work both in Korea and in the United States. Choi holds a Master of Divinity degree from Shepherd University of California.
Pastor, New Hope Church, Hayward, California
Pastor Lee is the Pastor of the New Hope Baptist Church in Hayward, California and Director of Administration of Oikos University in Oakland, California. Pastor Lee has been active in various regional Baptist associations for many years and has taught at Golden Gate Theological Seminary, San Francisco Bible College and Seminary, and the Korean-American Reformed Theological Seminary. Pastor Lee is actively fundraising in California in support of our refugee rescue program.
Pastor, Pilgrim Church, Burke, Virginia
Pastor, Hometown Mission Association for North Korea, Seattle, Washington
John Yoon is an American pastor and missionary living in the Seattle area. Pastor Yoon was active in the North Korean refugee “underground railroad” in China and personally rescued hundreds of North Korean refugees. He helped them find food and shelter while living in hiding in China and later guided them out of China to freedom. Whenever he visited he brought food, candy and news from the outside world. He even brought sewing materials for the refugees to make things to pass the time and then bought back the items they made when he returned. He then sold or gave away these items for his fundraising work while in America.
Jinhye, Grace Jo, and their mother worked with Pastor Yoon to help him save refugees while they lived in China. All four were caught by undercover agents in 2005 and imprisoned for 15 months in China. When released, Jinhye, Grace, and their mother were sent back to North Korea where they would face harsh punishment and possibly even execution for their role in helping refugees and working with a foreigner. However, being an American citizen, Pastor Yoon was sent back to America where he raised $10,000 to bribe the prison officials to release Jinhye, Grace, and their mother.
Pastor Yoon was awarded the Civil Courage Prize for his work in 2007. He was reunited with Grace, Jinhye, and their mother in 2008. Grace and Jinhye still think of Pastor Yoon as their grandfather.
North Korean Defector
Mrs. Han is the mother of President Jinhye Jo and Vice-President Grace Jo. She lost three children, her husband, and her mother due to starvation and the harsh treatment of the North Korean government. She brought Jinhye and Grace out of North Korea in 1998 and provided for and protected them for 10 years while they lived in hiding in China. Mrs. Han was imprisoned in China and was forcibly repatriated to North Korea four times where she suffered from starvation and torture. She, Grace, and Jinhye received protection from the UNHCR in 2007 and were able to come to America under the North Korean Human Rights Act in 2008. Mrs. Han is enjoying quiet retirement while still supporting her daughters in their work.