I research early stages of democratization in authoritarian states. Specifically, I study the emergence of high-risk dissent and potential sources of regime instability in authoritarian countries with a focus on Burma and North Korea. I am the author of two books, North Korea’s Hidden Revolution: How the Information Underground is Transforming a Closed Society (2016) and Hidden Discontent: Unraveling North Korean Elites’ Grievances and their Potential for Regime Instability (tentative title, 2024 forthcoming). This site hosts some of my writings and works in progress.
I started this website as a blog in 2012 to write about my interest in state-sponsored atrocities from the perspective of studying history and current events to help prevent repeat events from occurring in the future. Throughout my studies and travels over the years, I tried to capture snapshots of observations that may resonate with readers. As I am fortunate enough to have been born in a country whose political leadership allows me both freedom and education, I believe I have a duty to learn how I could bridge differences and misunderstandings that are consequences of political borders. We all have this duty. Let’s never stop educating ourselves with the experiences of other people so that we can inform our lifestyles, professions, conversations, and mindsets to see each other as equally human. I hope that my writing triggers a thought or two for my readers.
ABOUT JIEUN: Jieun Baek is a non-resident Senior Fellow at the Atlantic Council at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security, Indo-Pacific Security Initiative. Previously, she was the Research Project Manager on Technology and Human Rights in North Korea at the Harvard’s Carr Center for Human Rights Policy, and was a postdoctoral fellow at Harvard Kennedy School’s Belfer Center with the Applied History Project and the Korea Project. She is the the author of North Korea’s Hidden Revolution: How the Information Underground is Transforming a Closed Society (Yale University Press, 2016), and Hidden Discontent: Unraveling North Korean Elites’ Grievances and their Potential for Regime Instability (tentative title, 2024 forthcoming) She is the founder of Lumen, a non-profit organization that works to make information available to all North Koreans. She also leads Labs, a department in Liberty in North Korea that develops technologies and content to increase North Korean peoples’ access to information. Previously, she was a fellow at the Belfer Center, and worked at Google headquarters for several years where, among other roles, she served as Google Ideas’ North Korea expert (now: Alphabet’s Jigsaw). She has spoken on NPR, BBC, CNN, Al Jazeera and has written for The New York Times, Foreign Affairs, Politico, Huffington Post, and various Harvard publications. Baek received her bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Harvard, and her PhD at the University of Oxford. She is a proud Los Angeles native. Visit her at www.JieunBaek.com.
A few articles about my background:
- Shining a Light on North Korea (HKS Magazine)
- A Mission to Bring Freedom to North Korea (Oxford Alumni Profile)
- A Laser Focus on Freedom (Harvard Gazette)
- Jieun Baek on North Korea and Giving Back (Harvard Belfer Center)
- Korea Daily article (In Korean)
- Voice of America article (in Korean)
- Voice of America article about Tech and Human Rights Study Group (in Korean)