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North Korea: The Democratic People's Republic of Korea

North Korea: Beyond the Headlines

A Talk by Dick Simon

Monday, December 1
7:00 PM
Large Meeting Room

An exhibit of Dick Simon's Photographs of North Korea
in the Large Meeting Room Through the Month of December

Artist Statement:
In September 2012, I led a group of 16 top CEOs from 9 countries to North Korea.  We were seeking to get behind the headlines and garner a better understanding of a country often referred to as the ‘Hermit Kingdom’.

Before visiting North Korea, I believed that it was impossible for foreign tourists to enter the country and that it would be very dangerous to travel there.  Friends and family members were concerned that I might be detained, imprisoned in a labor camp, brainwashed, or worse. Media accounts and documentaries portrayed North Koreans as goose-stepping caricatures, starving peasants, or enslaved masses, validating those stereotypes.

We discovered that much of what we thought we knew was wrong. North Korea is neither inaccessible nor dangerous to visit as a Westerner. And rather than depressed and starving, we met many North Koreans celebrating, eating, giggling and chatting on cell phones. Unfortunately, the mythology surrounding North Korea drives international policy.  A nuanced understanding of the complexities involved would be beneficial for everyone.

Audio Commentary for the Photographs

About the trip: