Why Yeonmi Park’s Education is Important for Humanity

Yeonmi Park’s Education and its Importance for Humanity

Yeonmi Park is a North Korean defector who has been making headlines with her powerful speeches about life in the oppressive regime. She has found an ally in education, which helped her escape the clutches of a system that believed in keeping its citizens ignorant and under control. Park’s education is important for humanity as it shows us the transformative power of knowledge and the ways it can be used to fight oppression and tyranny.

The Role of Education in Yeonmi Park’s Life

Yeonmi Park grew up in North Korea, where the government controls every aspect of its citizens’ lives. Education is not about building critical thinking skills but producing obedient workers who follow the party line. Yeonmi’s father did not conform to the ideology of the ruling regime, which landed him in jail. As a result, the entire family was stigmatized, and Yeonmi lost access to her school. She went nine months without any formal education, learning to read and write using a smuggled-in copy of “The Diary of Anne Frank.” She has often talked about how reading the book inspired her to dream of freedom and portrayed education as a way to break free from the oppressive system.

The Importance of Education in Overcoming Escape Challenges

Yeonmi’s journey to escape North Korea was fraught with dangers and challenges. For instance, she and her mother had to cross the Yalu river by foot while it was frozen; they barely made it to the other side alive. In some ways, her education came in handy, helping her navigate the uncharted territory between the two nations. She had to learn basic survival skills like how to build a fire or how to catch fish to stay alive in the wilderness. Education also helped her understand the dynamics of human rights and why it is important to fight for them.

Education as a Tool for Empowerment

As much as Yeonmi’s education helped her overcome the challenges of escape, it was equally instrumental in her long-term success and empowerment. She used her education to learn English, which helped her communicate effectively with people from different parts of the world. She also learned about the universal values of human rights and democracy and how different societies and cultures approach them. Park’s education reinforces the idea that knowledge is power. When people are educated, they become informed about their rights and can use their power constructively to fight for change.


Yeonmi Park’s story teaches us about the transformative power of education. In a world where millions of people are denied access to education due to economic, social, political, or cultural reasons, her story is a reminder that education is a human right that should be accessible to all. Her story also illustrates the role of educators and policymakers in creating a more equitable society that values and prioritizes education. Yeonmi Park’s education is not just important for her individual success but for the collective success of humanity.

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