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[Diplomatic News] “We Don’t Have Alumni Meetings in Seoul”

[Diplomatic News] “We Don’t Have Alumni Meetings in Seoul”

Posted July. 15, 2005 03:02,   


Since the 1990s, as many as 15 graduates of Kim Il Sung University have settled in Seoul after escaping from North Korea. Given the fact that there are many diplomats who are serving in foreign legations in South Korea after finishing study at Kim Il Sung University, it is estimated that the number of the university’s alumni living in Seoul reaches about 30.

Kim Il Sung University has produced approximately 75,000 graduates since it was established on October 1, 1946. Therefore, the 15 graduates who escaped from the North account for 0.0002 percent of the whole graduates of this university.

Among the 15 North Korean escapees of Kim Il Sung University graduates, only four are in their 20s and 30s, and 11 are over their 40s. In terms of departments that they graduated from, five received degrees from a foreign language and literature department, three from the department of physics, two from the department of philosophy, and two from a linguistics and literature department. The last three graduated from the department of economics, the department of law, and the department of biology, respectively. From the 1960s to the end of the 1990s, the university had 14 departments (six for social science, and eight for natural science). Currently, it has three colleges covering literature, law, and computer science, and 13 departments.

The reason why Seoul has many North Korea escapees with degrees from a foreign language and literature department is that their defections was much easier because most of them worked in foreign countries.

Out of the 15 escapees, six are currently working for national research institutes and one is with an intelligence agency. Two are running their own businesses and another two are working as journalists. The last four are studying in schools (two) and involved in other types of occupations (two).

However, they don’t hold alumni meetings in Seoul due to discrepancies on how old they are, when they entered South Korea, and what kinds of occupations they have.

Most of the diplomats serving in South Korea after studying in Kim Il Sung University are from countries that have close relationships with North Korea such as former East European countries, China, Vietnam, and Mongolia. Interestingly, there is one who is from an African country.

During the 1960s and the 1970s, Kim Il Sung University accepted many international students. However, in the 1990s, the number was reduced to about 100. Currently, the number is falling even more. The studying and living of international students is completely separate from the North Korean students. If the North Korean students attempt to contact the international students without permission, they face punishment.