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Application Opens for Bush Institute’s North Korea Freedom Scholarship

Scholarships help North Korean escapees pursue educational opportunities and build new lives in freedom

January 16, 2018

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Dallas, Texas (January 16, 2018) – Today, the George W. Bush Institute formally opened applications for the 2018 North Korea Freedom Scholarship, designed to help North Korean escapees take advantage of the opportunities America offers and build productive, prosperous lives as new Americans.

More than 400 North Koreans have come legally to the United States as refugees or immigrants since President George W. Bush signed the North Korea Human Rights Act into law in 2004.

“The regime’s widespread depravation and lack of respect for human rights explains why many North Koreans risk everything to escape to freedom,” said Lindsay Lloyd, Deputy Director of Human Freedom at the Bush Institute. “Most North Koreans living here have adjusted well and want to contribute to American society. They remind us why helping others escape oppression is not only the right thing to do, it is in our best interest as a society.”

The Bush Institute conducted needs assessment studies on North Korean refugee communities, revealing a trend of self-sufficiency but finding many escapees are in low-level jobs with little chance for advancement. Research shows many want to improve their opportunities through education but face economic obstacles. The findings led the Bush Institute to work with Korean American and other community leaders across the country to raise $367,000 to establish the scholarship in 2017. The scholarship is administered by Communities Foundation of Texas.

To date, the scholarship has awarded eight scholarships to first-generation college students and aspiring doctors, nurses, and engineers. One 2017 recipient said the scholarship gave him hope for his own American dream. Several expressed a desire to one day pay the generosity forward, helping future students achieve their goals.

Applicants are eligible for scholarships up to $15,000. The awards help escapees who intend to further their education by attaining a bachelor’s degree, associate degree, or professional certification; attending English-language classes; or completing a vocational program. Scholarships may be used to cover tuition, fees, books, and on-campus housing at any accredited institution of higher learning.

Applicants must be born in North Korea or the child of someone born in North Korea and must permanently reside in the United States as a U.S. citizen, permanent resident, or refugee. Previous applicants and recipients are welcome to reapply. The online application closes April 1, 2018.

This effort is part of the Bush Institute’s ongoing work to improve the human condition in North Korea.

Interested candidates can learn more and apply on the Communities Foundation of Texas website at https://cftexas.academicworks.com/opportunities/1409.