Social Change in North Korea: Current Trends and Future Prospects
Aug 04, 2017
Hanna Song
Social Change in North Korea: Current Trends and Future Prospects

North Korea is often portrayed as a stuck-in-time Stalinist state, impervious to global trends and 21st Century modernity. At the level of international relations, this is justified; there has been very little progress over the last twenty years. Internally, however, multiple trends are changing the system and degrading the government's sources of power in irreversible ways. Drawing on insights from recent defectors and other sources, we will examine the significance of six long-term changes in North Korean society and discuss what this may mean for the future of the country. 

Hannah Song Bio

Hannah Song is President and CEO of Liberty in North Korea (LiNK).  She joined in 2006 as Deputy Director, managing day-to-day operations and coordinating overseas programs, including underground shelters and refugee resettlement efforts in the United States and in South Korea.  At the end of 2008, she became President/CEO, helping to re-launch the organization with a new mission focused on building international support for the North Korean people, providing direct assistance to North Korean refugees, and developing long-term, people-focused strategies to accelerate positive changes inside the country.  Hannah regularly speaks at international fora and to the media on North Korea-related issues.  Prior to joining LiNK, Hannah worked in advertising at OgilvyOne and Mindshare focusing on digital media and emerging technologies. She is a 2008 NetKAL fellow from the USC School of Social Work, and a 2016 Ashoka Korea Fellow.

Liberty in North Korea (LiNK) is an international NGO that assists North Korean refugees in China, helping them escape through a modern-day underground railroad to freedom.  The organization also utilizes multiple strategies to change the narrative on North Korea and works with North Korean defectors to pursue change and opening inside the country. For more information, please visit