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Education of Lee Eun-koo

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31.01.2017
By Casey Lartigue Jr.

When my South Korean co-director and I began having disagreements about a project centered on North Korean refugees, she pulled the "expert card" on me.

Based on her years of experience working with refugees, interviewing them directly in Korean, and her academic background (she has a master's degree in North Korean Studies), Lee Eun-koo said that as a newcomer I didn't know it was "known" that North Korean refugees are passive. Warning that expecting refugees to take charge of how they learn was doomed to fail, she threatened to quit. She frowned at me numerous times as we held our first "Matching" session at which refugees chose their own volunteer English tutors.

Over the next couple of months, she admitted that it seemed that her eyes were lying to her. She knew from her experience and background that refugees were passive. But at our "Matching" sessions, she saw eager refugees had closely studied the resumes of tutors, had a "hit list" of tutors they wanted, and sometimes showed up more than two hours early to choose.

Instead of being passive, we had to warn refugees not to abuse the tutors by asking too much of them. In........

© The Korea Times