On March 11, 2022, the first in a series of conversations with long-time travellers to the DPRK took place, sponsored by UPF Canada in collaboration with UPF-EUME.
Entitled “Viewing the DPRK from Within,” the webinar, broadcast from Montreal, Canada, was introduced by Robert Duffy, secretary-general, UPF-Canada and moderated by Dr. Franco Famularo, president of UPF-Canada.
The program began with an interview segment conducted by Professor Joseph Chung, University of Quebec in Montreal (ret.), who asked questions of Mr. Kim Suhae, president of the Korean Federation in Canada, pertinent to his impressions on a variety of aspects of life in the DPRK gleaned from his more than 25 visits there.
The second segment featured a response and further elaboration about the DPRK from a seasoned visitor, UK resident Mr. Keith Bennett, who has travelled regularly to the DPRK since 1983. Mr. Bennett serves as deputy chairman of the Kim Il Sung–Kim Jong Il Foundation (KKF) and was awarded the Friendship Order of the DPRK by President Kim Il Sung on two occasions.
Mr. Bennett made the point that given the unresolved state of war that still exists on the peninsula (the 1950-53 Korean War ended with an armistice), one can understand the DPRK’s tendency to self-isolation, especially with one of the main opponents still maintaining a substantial military foothold in the south.
He had several personal anecdotes about his experiences with individual friends and officials of the DPRK to share, which made his presentation very interesting.
The program closed with the promise of another such exploratory session with anthropologist Dr. Okkyung Pak who has relatives and friends in the DPRK.