Press Release

President and Mrs. Bush meet with North Korean refugees

The Bush Institute releases policy paper on how China and Russia facilitate North Korea’s human rights abuses  

Dallas, Texas—Today, President and Mrs. George W. Bush welcomed 14 North Korean refugees to the George W. Bush Presidential Center to learn about their hopes for themselves and their families in the United States and their concerns about the situation in North Korea. The refugees are recipients of the Lindsay Lloyd North Korea Freedom Scholarship and Liberty in North Korea (LiNK) advocacy fellows.

“Escaping speaks of courage, risk, learning to go to the extreme just to survive to get out of a dark, dark society. I believe a lot of Americans, if we can get your stories to them, they would say, ‘This is the kind of person we want in America…’ We’re big believers in immigration, because immigrants bring a new perspective, and they renew our soul,” said President George W. Bush.

Since 2017, $300,000 has been awarded in the form of 75 scholarships for North Koreans to pursue higher education in the United States. The conversation took place at a workshop hosted by the George W. Bush Institute and LiNK where attendees have the opportunity to further develop their leadership and advocacy skills.

“I’ve always been a big advocate for a free North Korea, and one way to help advance the cause is to provide opportunities for people that have sought freedom to get an education. And they then become leaders,” said President Bush.

View photos from the gathering.

Today, the Bush Institute and the Center for Strategic and International Studies published a policy paper urging the administration, Congress, the international community, and the United Nations to take action to weaken China and Russia’s ability to facilitate North Korea’s human rights abuses.

For more information about the Bush Institute’s work on supporting freedom in North Korea, visit


About the George W. Bush Institute

The George W. Bush Institute is a solution-oriented nonpartisan policy organization focused on ensuring opportunity for all, strengthening democracy, and advancing free societies. Housed within the George W. Bush Presidential Center, the Bush Institute is rooted in compassionate conservative values and committed to creating positive, meaningful, and lasting change at home and abroad. We utilize our unique platform and convening power to advance solutions to national and global issues of the day. Learn more at