North Korea has been among the hot topics in American politics this year due to it’s seemingly strained relationship with the U.S. With this controversy, specific issues within North Korea can be overlooked like basic human rights violations. Amnesty International at USF aims to bring light to these problems with a guest speaker educated on the topic.
In a move toward educating students about the communist country, the Amnesty International organization at USF will be hosting the “Human Rights with David Hawk” event on Thursday at 5:30 in the Marshall Student Center Room 3708 for those who wish to learn about the situation in North Korea.
Former executive director of Amnesty International David Hawk will use his 15 years of research to speak about the issues surrounding the country.
Yusma Sadiq, president of Amnesty International at USF, said the decision to bring Hawk had much to do with his experience and the timeliness of the subject matter.
“He was one of the first people to start extensive documentation about what it’s like living in North Korea,” Sadiq said. “With everything happening on the news, it might be best to educate everyone on this topic.”
According to Sadiq, Hawk’s expertise on North Korea will work toward helping students learn more about what they see on the news concerning the country and their leader.
“He is going to be discussing the (history) build up until now and why we’re seeing the headlines we are seeing in our current political climate,” Sadiq said.
Sadiq said the mixed perceptions people have on North Korea hasn’t truly let the facts settle into people’s minds. Sadiq said some people don’t take the issues of the authoritarian regime seriously.
“Recently, I think people are starting to look at North Korea like they’re a joke,” Sadiq said. “It is an actual dictatorship, and people are actually suffering.”
As for addressing President DonaldTrump’s talk toward North Korea and his supposed upcoming visit with the foreign leader, Sadiq said she’s positive Hawk will give his professional opinion on those matters.
“I think it is hard to not mention Trump when you are talking about North Korea,” Sadiq said. “(Hawk) doesn’t seem like the type of person to shy away from those discussions.”
Along with the lecture that Hawk will be giving for the majority of the event, Sadiq said there will be a session after for unanswered questions, directed by a USF professor affiliated with International Studies and Affairs.
Jongseok Woo, whose made scientific contributions toward topics concerning East Asian politics and corruption, will have a small Q&A for those who wish to learn more on the subject.
Because most students have busy schedules, Sadiq said sometimes their lives don’t allow for them to learn and understand topics that require broad research. According to Sadiq, the Amnesty International at USF is set on educating students who only have minimal awareness on local and global issues.
“A lot of people read just headlines and nothing more,” Sadiq said. “I think our perception comes from a lack of knowledge and a lack of understanding on the actual situation.”
While the Amnesty International at USF usually educates on issues and pushes for actions toward those issues with volunteering, Sadiq said there’s not a lot of change one could push forth with this topic.
However, she did mention one course of action people should take after learning.
“Besides education, there’s not much we can do regarding volunteering,” Sadiq said. “But, the biggest action we can take is being aware of the politicians we put in office.”
Sadiq said she hopes students will take the opportunity to learn about the political structure of North Korea.
“I think that we aren’t as educated enough on international issues as we should be,” Sadiq said. “I think that going to these talks is beneficial because you’re able to get a lot of information in a small amount of time from a really great resource.”