May 30, 2017 Print

TNKR co-director Eunkoo Lee with Casey Lartigue at the Hansarang Rural Cultural Foundation Award ceremony.

Casey Lartigue Jr., Atlas Leadership Academy alumnus from Teach North Korean Refugees (TKNR), may be the only Harvard-educated black Texan libertarian who has dedicated his life to teaching North Korean refugees how to tell their stories. In 2013, Lartigue and South Korean Eunkoo Lee co-founded the nonprofit TKNR to help the 30,000 refugees living in South Korea integrate into their new environment.

Realizing that learning English is one of the primary barriers faced by North Korean refugees, Lartigue and Lee established the TNKR Global Education Center in 2016, for which Lartigue serves as international director. Lartigue was recently honored as a Hansarang Rural Cultural Foundation Award recipient for contributing to the social integration of North Korean refugees by providing free English learning, speaking, and mentorship opportunities.

“I was honored to be nominated by an organization that I had never heard of, then shocked when I learned that I had won,” said Lartigue. “This award has validated the hard work of the almost 600 volunteers who have given so much of their time to help North Korean refugees adjust to living outside of North Korea. It would not have been possible without the many students within TNKR praising us publicly in the media and recommending us to other refugees seeking ways to improve themselves and to tell stories of how they struggled to escape North Korea so they could live as free people.”

View photos from the awards ceremony here.

Read the press release here.

TNKR will host its sixth speech contest on August 26, with a theme of "A Woman is a Flower: The lives of North Korean women."