I started this blog in 2012 to write about my interest in mass human rights violations from the perspective of studying history and current events to help prevent such injustices from occurring in the future. As Shin Dong Hyuk (a North Korean defector) said in one of my articles, “we think that massive genocides took place long ago in our history. ‘Never again,’ we think. We’re mistaken! These systematic killings are taking place, and will continue to take place until we bring change.” Throughout my studies and travels over the past few years, I have broadened the scope of my blogging to share my experiences as an observer of the world through the lens of seeing people as equally human.
We’re all fundamentally and equally human. We’re all born to a mother and father, crave to love and be loved, yearn to know and be known, and have an inalienable dignity that makes us the most unique specie to populate this earth. We must remember that a baby has no past.
This is such a simple truth, an obvious fact, yet so easily forgotten in government policies as well as daily interactions among people on a daily basis. As someone who believes that human beings are inherently equal, I am fascinated by how humanity—with all of its complexities and similarities—is segregated by states with man-made boundaries and varying types of governments. 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 the Research Project Manager on Technology and Human Rights in North Korea at the Harvard’s Carr Center for Human Rights Policy. She is the the author of North Korea’s Hidden Revolution: How the Information Underground is Transforming a Closed Society, and 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. 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)