I left my parents and siblings in North Korea and escaped alone to South Korea. This program made me feel more responsible and motivated to work hard for the future of North and South Korea.
— WLP 2014 Participant
One of my main goals during this program was to understand the international economic structure and trends of developing countries. By meeting staff at the IMF and the World Bank, I learned about the vision for the world’s economy, the efforts made for developed countries to keep growing and for underdeveloped countries to overcome poverty.
— WLP 2014 Participant

Washington leadership program (WLP)

Our Washington Leadership Program has an 11-year history. College students in South Korea are selected through an open, competitive process and spend three weeks in Washington, DC and New York City in July. Participants attend lectures, visit international and US institutions, join public events, hold group discussions and meet with young professionals in Washington, DC area. They also experience the nation’s historical and cultural sites and events.  Since 2012, most WLP participants have been North Korean defectors who attend universities in South Korea.

timeline of 2017 wlp application process:

  • March: Invitation to apply
  • April: Document review and interviews
  • End of April: Selection of final candidates
  • April through June: Orientation sessions (about four sessions on Saturdays)


public education program (PEP)

This whole process of trying to understand other’s opinion and actively contributing to the discussion helped me develop leadership skills.
— WLP 2014 Participant

Our PEP was launched in 2014. The first event was a campus lecture at the Korea University in Seoul, Korea in October 2014. The event included Mr. John Feffer as the guest speaker discussing U.S. foreign policy. The second event was held in December in Washington, DC: We invited a North Korean defector student to talk about the college system and student life in North Korea.

Our first PEP event of 2015 was held on February 20 at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government. Our guest speaker, a North Korean defector, discussed the higher education system in North Korea.