NKDB's Education Center for Korean Integration carries out several 12-week programs twice a year. The programs are open to the general public to garner interest in North Korean human rights and cover a range of issues. Currently there are six programs that are being operated:
- North Korean Human Rights Academy
- Together for Unification Academy
- Unification Diplomacy Academy
- Unification Social Welfare Academy
- Unification Law Academy
- Korean Integration Academy
In November, NKDB arranged a field trip to Paju for all the participants of our academies. For some students, it was a great opportunity to escape the hustle and bustle of the city; for other students who are from North Korea, they were able to get just a little bit closer to their hometown through Paju, a border area where you can see a North Korean village across the river.
The first stop in Paju was Imjingak Nuri Peace Park. Imjingak is 53km away from Seoul, but Kaesong in North Korea is even less than half of the distance, 22km away. With a close distance to North Korea, there are still many remnants of the Korean War including traces of bullets and a train that could no longer go North. There was a sign that said "This place will cease to exist upon unification" which echoed in many of the students' hearts.
In Imjingak Nuri Peace Park, the participants were able to visit the the 6.25 Memorial Hall where they were able to read the stories of those who have been abducted and their families. Afterwards, the participants were able to enjoy a bowl of noodles that are native to the area. It was an opportunity for participants of different academies to sit together and learn about the various backgrounds that led to discussions about what sparked their interest in the North Korean issue, human rights and unification. The final stop was the Odusan Unification Observatory where the group was given a special tour. By seeing and feeling how close North Korea is, the participants were drawn even closer to the issue.