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A discussion of North Korea's engagement of outsiders who visit the country from a tourist's point of view. Read more

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This project was successfully funded on June 30, 2012.

A discussion of North Korea's engagement of outsiders who visit the country from a tourist's point of view.

About this project

This Kickstarter is to fund an article about North Korean public diplomacy efforts from the point of view of an American tourist.

After years of trying, I have finally been granted access as a tourist to North Korea. It is especially appropriate that this is also the year I began to switch my career goals to focus on international-oriented communications. A few of my classmates at Syracuse University have also been granted access, despite not having applied for five freaking years, will be going and any money donated and not used for me will go to offset their costs.

About the article:

This year, the Democratic People's republic of Korea will not only be performing the Mass Games (Arirang Festival-  in Pyongyang, as they do every year, this year will be especially noteworthy, as it is the 100th Anniversary of the birth of the founder of the DPRK, Kim Il-Sung. On top of attending this ceremony, the chosen tourists will also visit other sites in the North, including hospitals, schools, North Korean homes, historical sites, and even the Northern side of the 38th parallel. The tourists will be given guided, chaperoned tours of the country, exclusively separate from the average North Korean. These efforts are known as Public Diplomacy, or in short, uncertain terms, communication with foreign publics, designed to inform and influence." The US definition is "diplomatic efforts to promote the national interest of... through understanding, informing, and influencing foreign audiences." In either case, the target of the communication is the citizens of another country. 

A little (oversimplification) about Public Diplomacy: 

There are many types of Public Diplomacy. The US practices PD through various methods, most notably education exchanges and its Voice of America programming overseas. The types practiced by the North Koreans here fall into two categories, exchange diplomacy and cultural diplomacy. But it may go so much deeper than this, based on whom the DPRK has chosen to attend. There are only 20 American attendees allowed, and their backgrounds are hand-picked by the Korean Friends Association, a sponsor of the trip. 

I want to document this experience from a public diplomacy point of view and to discuss the events and timing of these events in various forums.I hope to further the scholarship of post-Cold War public diplomacy and to publish an article in the Newhouse School's Exchange Journal of Public Diplomacy to gain notoriety for our fledgling area of study and the PD program at Syracuse.

For those worried about security concerns, the Maxwell School at Syracuse has an existing relationship with the government of the DPRK and the Korean Friends Association is a non-profit entity closely linked to the government of North Korea, but not a part of it. We do not intend to antagonize the North Koreans or question their methods. We are there to observe and discuss, just as the other participants will be. Thanks for considering your donation!  


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Funding period

- (39 days)