Inside the hermit kingdom - a tour of North Korea

Public Lecture


Dr Emma Campbell


Finkel Lecture Theatre, John Curtin School of Medical Research (131), Garran Road, ANU


Tuesday, 3 September, 2013 - 18:00 to 19:30



Dr Emma Campbell recently returned from a 6 day visit to the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea where she travelled through the Northeast of the country. Her itinerary included the cities of Rajin-Sonbong, Chongjin, Kyongsong and the Chilbosan region. In this lecture, Dr Campbell will share images and experiences from her recent trip. She will explore issues around travelling to North Korea by answering questions such as: can anything be gained from such restricted and monitored travel? Does travel to a country like North Korea help break down barriers between outsiders and the Korean people or does it give sustenance to the regime? And can anything witnessed in North Korea be considered ‘real’ or believable? Based on her long engagement with the Korean peninsula that began with a trip to the DPRK in 1997 during the country’s devastating famine, Dr Campbell argues that much can be gained by informed travellers who visit the DPRK. Despite the barriers presented by the controlled nature of tours, she contends that substantial insights that can be gained into normal life in the North. In this lecture, Dr Campbell will share some of these insights with the audience and suggest how such knowledge should shape the policy of Australia and the wider international community in their efforts to bring about peace on the Korean peninsula.


Dr Emma Campbell is the Korea Institute Postdoctoral Fellow, based in the Strategic and Defence Studies Centre, College of the Asia and the Pacific, Australian National University. She has previously worked in the field with Médecins Sans Frontières and as a researcher and editor at the North Korea Database Centre, a Seoul-based NGO specialising in North Korean human rights and the welfare of North Korean refugees living in South Korea. A Korean and Chinese speaker, she has travelled to the DPRK on three occasions and was recently awarded an Australia-Korea Foundation Fellowship to fund two forthcoming trips to the DPRK with a major NGO. Prior to this she worked for Cathay Pacific Airways in roles which included manager of the airline’s UK passenger sales and marketing operations and as manager for northern India. She has also worked in corporate finance with ABN-AMRO Rothschild and as a political researcher for the former Premier of NSW, the Honourable Bob Carr. Dr Campbell received her PhD from the Australian National University in 2011 where she was a Korea Foundation Scholar and Cheung Kong Australia Endeavour Research Fellow. Her current projects include research into attitudes in South Korea to unification and the DPRK and an examination of the relationship between security policy and humanitarian assistance to North Korea.

Dr Campbell’s recent publications include ‘Changing South Korea: Issues of Identity and Reunification in Formulating the Australia-Korea Security Policy, Foreign Policy and Wider Relationship’ in the Korea Observer. She is currently finalising a book based on her PhD thesis entitled Eternal division? The end of ‘one Korea’ and the rise of South Korean nationalism. She appears frequently in international and Australian media and blogs, including the ABC, Al Jazeera, Sky News, the Australian Financial Review and the East Asia Forum, as a commentator on Korean peninsula issues.

Please join us for complimentary drinks in the foyer of the John Curtin School of Medical Research before the public lecture: 5.30pm - 6.00pm



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