The questions of whether, and how, to engage with North Korea is one which the international community continues to grapple with. The talk engages in the process by sharing some insights into the everyday lives of the country’s citizens and, despite a complex political environment, shares options for what can be done to help the people of North Korea move forward, develop and grow.
Ms Zellweger starts by discussing the present situation regarding humanitarian work in North Korea. She outlines the prerequisites for working in this challenging environment and answers the question of whether aid is making a difference. She explains the impact of sanctions, a critical problem for development in North Korea.
She concludes with a brief look at what major changes have come about in North Korea and thoughts about what some of the best ways forward could be for the country.
Katharina Zellweger is from Switzerland and has resided in Hong Kong for 40 years. She holds a master’s degree in International Administration from the School for International Training in Brattleboro, Vermont. From 1978 to 2006, she worked in a senior post for the Catholic agency Caritas in Hong Kong, where she played a key role in pioneering Caritas’s involvement in China and North Korea. She was then based in Pyongyang for five years as the North Korea Country Director for the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation, an office of the Swiss Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
Ms Zellweger now manages KorAid Limited, which she established the NGO in 2015 to focus on children in institutions and people with disabilities and other projects in North Korea and in China. She is also a Visiting Fellow at the Center for International Security and Cooperation at Stanford University in California. She has received the Bishop Tji Justice and Peace Award and is a Dame of St Gregory the Great from the Vatican, both for her work in North Korea.
Members of the RGS, their guests and others are most welcome to attend this event, which is HK$150 for RGS Members and HK$200 for guests and others, including a complimentary glass of white or red wine. This event is free of charge for our Student Members.
The Royal Geographical Society – Hong Kong wishes to express its thanks to Hill Dickinson as our Venue Sponsor for this talk.