Hyeonseo Lee is a North Korean defector living in Seoul, South Korea.
As a child growing up in North Korea, Hyeonseo thought her country was “the best on the planet”. It wasn’t until the famine in the 1990’s that her thoughts changed.
Aged just 14, she escaped the country to begin a life in hiding as a refugee in China.
Her story is a harrowing, personal tale of survival and hope.
Hyeonseo’s memoir, “The Girl With Seven Names“, was published in 2015 in over 20 countries, becoming a global bestseller.
Over 13 million people have viewed her Ted talk, where Hyeonseo spoke about her life in North Korea, her escape to China and the struggle to bring her family to freedom.
Hyeonseo Lee has given testimony about North Korean human rights in front of a UN Security Council special panel. She has also discussed the issues with leaders such as UN Ambassador Samantha Powers.
Hyeonseo now spends much of her time speaking about North Korean human rights and North Korean refugee issues.
She has met public officials including former UK Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg and the South Korean Minister of Unification, Yu Woo-ik, to discuss these issues.
She has delivered speeches at Stanford University, Princeton University, New York University Law School and at various global events.
Hyeonseo Lee has also written articles for the New York Times, Wall Street Journal Korea Real-Time, the London School of Economics Big Ideas blog, and also worked as a student journalist for the South Korean Ministry of Unification.
She has also been interviewed by numerous media outlets throughout the world including the BBC, CNN and CBS News.
Hyeonseo Lee is currently writing a book with other female North Koreans living in South Korea. Furthermore, she is planning to start an organization to help promising North Korean refugees interact with the international community.
Hyeonseo delivers keynote speeches in Korean, English and also Chinese.