In the heart of North Korea’s dictatorship, a university – largely paid for by the West – is attempting to open the minds of the state’s future elite. Entering the Pyongyang University of Science and Technology, it is immediately clear this is no ordinary academic institution.
They are the sons of some of the most powerful men in North Korea, including senior military figures. “Our supreme commander Kim Jong-un, we will defend him with our lives,” they sing as they march to breakfast.
There are 500 students here – dressed smartly in black suits, white shirts, red ties and black, peaked caps with briefcases at their sides. They are all hand-picked by Kim Jong-un’s regime to receive a Western education.
The university’s official aim is to equip them with the skills to help modernise the impoverished country and engage with the international community.
All classes are in English and many of the lecturers are American. This is remarkable because North Korea has isolated itself from the outside world for decades and the US is its hated enemy.
The founder and president is Dr James Chin-Kyung Kim. The 78-year-old Korean-American Christian entrepreneur was invited by the regime to build a university based on a similar one he had opened in northern China.
The university’s foreign lecturers are up against a lifetime of propaganda and conditioning – and almost complete isolation from the rest of the world.
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How would God have us pray for this nation and this unique work.