Mike Kim is an author, consultant, NGO founder, and North Korea specialist. He is the author of the Wall Street Journal featured book "Escaping North Korea", a current events memoir about his experiences at the China-North Korea border helping North Koreans escape the regime. On New Year's Day 2003, Mike gave up his financial planning business in Chicago, Illinois and left for China on a one-way ticket carrying little more than two duffle bags. While living near the North Korean border, he operated undercover as a student of North Korean taekwondo, training and competing under two famous North Korean masters from Pyongyang—eventually receiving a second-degree blackbelt.
During his time in China, he learned of the hundreds of thousands of North Koreans fleeing to China through a 6,000-mile modern-day underground railroad, which runs from Pyongyang to Bangkok, in search of food and freedom. He founded Crossing Borders, a nonprofit dedicated to providing humanitarian assistance to North Korean refugees which has testified at a US congressional hearing and has been a long time contributor of the State Department's annual Trafficking in Persons Report. Mike frequently appears in the media: He has appeared on CNN Anderson Cooper 360 and it was after his interview on The Daily Show with Jon Stewart that there was interest from Hollywood in turning Escaping North Korea into a motion picture. His book and life story are currently being developed into a feature film with actor/producer Daniel Dae Kim (Lost, Hawaii Five-O).
Mike lectures to audiences worldwide about his experiences at the China-North Korea border and has now shared his stories of inspiration, courage, and hope on five continents. Mike resides in San Francisco and writes for the Huffington Post Blog and CNN Opinion.
(Photos courtesy of Kenny Kim Photography - kennykim.com)