Dissident Jang Jin-sun guest lecturer at Leiden University
North Korean dissident Jang Jin-sun has been appointed guest lecturer on 'speaking truth to power' - in particular with regard to North Korea - at Leiden University. Over the coming half year he will give a number of lectures on the inner workings of the North Korean regime.
Professor Jang is no stranger to Leiden. In September 2014 he took part in a conference on 'A State of Non-Legitimacy'. Together with six other North Korean exiles, he was attracted to come to Leiden because of his personal contacts with Professor of Korea Studies Remco Breuker, but also because Leiden University is renowned as a praesidium libertatis, bastion of freedom. In his lecture in the Academy Building, Jang, former court poet, shared insights on the North Korean dictatorship. He expressed the expectation that the regime will fall within a number of years.
As a former senior official, Jang is one of the most influential of North Korean dissidents. He is the author of Dear leader, Poet, Spy, Escapee - A Look Inside North Korea, an autobiographical account of his years in North Korea. His memoirs became a bestseller in the UK and in the US, and have been translated into French, Chinese, Japanese, Spanish, Swedish and Dutch.
He was one of Kim Jong Il's favoured poets and member of the Admitted (those who were admitted into the presence of Kim Jong Il). Professor Jang escaped from North Korea into China across the frozen Tumen River in 2003 and arrived in South Korea in 2004.
While associated with Leiden University, Professor Jang will among other things teach a masterclass on understanding North Korea from the inside out. In it, he will discuss characteristics of the North Korean system left hitherto undiscussed outside of North Korea. This is the first time that knowledge of this kind about the inner workings of the North Korean system will be part of a lecture series at a university outside Korea.