Yeonmi Park, North Korea defector and author of an international bestseller, was the keynote speaker of Concordia’s fourth annual Liberty, Faith, and Economics Summit.

Freedom is under pressure all around the world–a fact Yeonmi Park knows all too well.

The international bestselling author also knows full well the preciousness of freedom, having once fled a country that is notorious for its suppression of individuals’ freedoms.

Last night, Park shared with the Concordia community the story of her escape from North Korea and the atrocities she faced while living there. Her powerful address capped off an afternoon of civil discourse around the topic of freedom’s erosion on an international scale as part of Concordia’s fourth annual Liberty, Faith, and Economics Summit.  

Despite her desire to escape and the fact that she is now a U.S. citizen, Park shared with the Concordia audience that she is grateful to have been born in North Korea.

“If I wasn’t born in that darkness, if I wasn’t born in that oppression, I would not have known how unique, how amazing, how miraculous (it is) to be in this free country.”

Click below to view a recording of her full address.

Summit lineup

The Liberty, Faith, and Economics Summit also exposed attendees to a variety of other countries’ plight in the absence of basic human rights afforded to their citizens:

  • Two Concordia students who are involved in the production of the CUWAA Queastus Journal interviewed peers from Ukraine who are attending Ukrainian-American Concordia University.
  • CUW Professor of Political Science Lamont Colucci, PhD, discussed matters surrounding Taiwan and its fight for security amid China’s reassessment of its “peaceful unification” policy with them.
  • Acton Institute’s Dan Churchwell lead a discussion on the recently released documentary, The Hong Konger.

Check back for recordings of these presentations.

Want in?

The Liberty, Faith, and Economics Summit was put on by Concordia’s Free Enterprise Center. The Center opened in fall 2021 under the leadership of Scott Niederjohn, a nationally recognized economist and scholar who now serves as a professor of economics at CUW. The Center aims to support the ideals of a free and virtuous society through four areas: research, education, application, and public policy.

Its next event–the second of this year’s Economics, Politics, and Philosophy on the Bluff Speaker Series–will take place on Monday, Oct. 17 in the Robert W. Plaster Free Enterprise Center on Concordia’s Mequon campus. Matt Ridley will be the featured guest. His talk begins at 6 p.m., with a reception starting at 5 p.m.

Registration for this event is preferred, but the event is free.