Korea Exposure & Education Program
KEEP-ROK 2012 Application Deadline: March 15, 2012
Update: The deadline has been extended to March 23, 2012.
Download the Application here
Questions? Email .
It’s time for Nodutdol’s 2012 Korea Education and Exposure Program–ROK!
As you know, KEEP-ROK was established in 1994. This year, the aim of KEEP-ROK is to take those who struggle against militarism to those sites of struggle in south Korea, with a commitment to continue anti-militarism work at home.
The mission of KEEP is to increase awareness of and strengthen the global movement for peace and justice on the Korean peninsula and in the United States and North America. Through building relationships and communities, KEEP seeks to broaden our understanding of and participation in the liberation struggles and unification of the Korean people.
We do hope that such knowledge will be a catalyst for a new generation of progressive activism and community leadership.
KEEP was created in 1994 by activists in NYC, LA, and Seoul who wanted to help build solidarity with and learn from the struggles for peace, social justice, and unification taking place in Korea. We believe these types of experiences are an important step toward understanding the history and role of Koreans here in the United States.
KEEP provides an opportunity to learn about the movements for democracy, liberation, and self-determination in Korea. Participants learn about the history and current struggles for social and economic justice, as well as the broad-based movement for peaceful unification — issues not widely discussed among Koreans in America or in United States educational institutions. Through such exposure, KEEP seeks to build solidarity with communities on both sides of the Pacific and create a better understanding of the relationships that bind Korea and the United States together.
The summer program begins with an orientation where participants get to know each other and prepare for the days ahead. During the orientation, participants discuss a broad range of issues, including: the impact of increased globalization on farmers and workers, militarized prostitution and the continued occupation of Korea by 37,000 U.S. troops, the National Security Laws, and the 1980 Kwangju Uprising, in which thousands of civilians were killed by their own government.
In the next 2 weeks, participants will encounter these issues first-hand: visiting organizations and historical sites, working alongside farmers, and participating in events organized by progressive groups. In the past, the summer program has culminated with national unification events staged in Seoul.
Through KEEP, former participants have become involved in progressive organizations in Korea. After the program, many KEEP participants have organized community forums and other educational events, created their own organizations or joined existing ones, and have formed a national networks and gatherings.
Frequently Asked Questions:
* How much is the program? Is airfare included?
The cost for the program changes year-to-year, depending on exchange rates and inflation. Currently, KEEP participants are being asked to pay $1300 to cover program costs, housing, meals, and transportation within Korea. Participants are responsible for travel arrangements to Seoul. If you have questions, please consult us before making travel arrangements.
* When does the program begin and end?
Historically, the orientation has begun in the last weekend of July or the first weekend of August. The program usually lasts two weeks. There are also study sessions that must be completed before the summer program and participants are required to organize a report back upon their return. (See below for more info.)
* Can I film and/or document the program?
KEEP usually designates a group photographer and/or a videographer. In order to protect the security of those we meet during the program, individual participants must get permission from KEEP in advance if they plan on using photos, videos, or other recordings for their own projects.
* Is this program available at other times in the year?
No. Currently, KEEP does not have the resources to organize more than one program a year.
* What is the housing situation like?
Living arrangements in Korea have varied from year to year and during the trip. Participants may stay in motels, guest houses, people’s homes, etc. During the program, personal space will be limited. This is, in part, a recognition and sensitivity to the lack of space available for the majority of people living in Korea. Real estate is a rare commodity. Often times, activists live at home with their parents or families and sacrifice their personal living space in order to prioritize their work.
* Will I need to speak fluent Korean to participate in the program?
No, but it helps. Fluency in Korean is not a disqualifying factor in applicant selection. We do our best to provide translation every year. However, having a better command of the language helps and we encourage participants to brush up on their Korean as much as possible before the program.
* What pre- or post-KEEP activities are involved in participating in the program?
KEEP participants will be asked to participate in study sessions and community forums before and after the program. These activities are considered an important part of KEEP and are designed to provide a basic understanding of the issues explored during the program. After the program, KEEP participants organize report-back events and other activities as a way to communicate their summer experiences to members of the community.
* What is the purpose of the orientation?
The orientation is an important part of KEEP and is required for all participants. The orientation strives to prepare participants for the various cultural and historical aspects of the trip. It is an opportunity to discuss the roles and responsibilities of participants and coordinators. Often times, the orientation is the crucial moment when participants begin to bond and develop friendships that continue after the program.
* Will I be able to visit relatives or friends during the program?
Personal visits to friends or relatives should be scheduled after the two-week program.
* What is the purpose of the program?
To inspire a new generation of Korean Americans to make the necessary links between struggles in Korea and our community work here in the United States.
* What organizational affiliation does KEEP have?
KEEP is supported by the work of Nodutdol for Korean Community Development in New York City. Nodutdol works in collaboration with numerous partner organizations in Seoul, Korea, who provide the necessary support to plan, administer, and develop the annual summer program.
* How is KEEP funded?
KEEP is run by volunteers and funded by Nodutdol for Korean Community Development in New York City. We organize various fundraising activities throughout the year.
* Are there any scholarships/subsidies available?
This will depend on the funding priorities for a given year. Contact Nodutdol to see if any scholarships or grants are available.
* What if I can’t afford to go on KEEP?
In past years, individuals who have been accepted to KEEP but could not afford the program fee have organized their own personal fundraising events and activities. For example, some participants have hosted a brunch for friends or organized house parties to subsidize their travel.
* Who is eligible to apply for KEEP? Who has gone on past summer programs?
While the application process is open to everyone, we prioritize those who have a demonstrated commitment to developing the Korean community in the United States. We encourage and actively recruit from a wide range of people: past KEEP participants have included staff and members of community-based organizations, labor unions, and workers centers, graduate students and undergrads, media activists, poets, school teachers, office workers and professionals, professors, service workers, poongmul players, artists, and performers. Please explore the rest of our website to get a better sense of what KEEP is about and whether our mission fits your interests and goals.
* How are travel arrangements made?
Participants have the flexibility to arrange their own roundtrip tickets to Seoul. If you need help, contact Nodutdol and we can arrange for you to travel with other participants. Some participants may want to stay in Korea beyond the program - if this is the case, you need to take into consideration visa requirements and other logistical issues. Please contact us for more information.
Sample itinerary from past KEEPs:
* Seminars on a diverse range of Korea-related topics, including contemporary political history; the reunification movement; north Korean famine relief; international solidarity, labor unions, feminism, and student movements.
* Nonghwal - an extended farming exposure in the Korean countryside.
* Visits to important landmarks, such as those associated with the Kwangju People’s Uprising.
* Conversations with student movement leaders.
* Visits to Min-Joong Tangjaewon, a traditional medicine pharmacy run by former long-term political prisoners.
* Participation in a famine relief street action.
* Visits to lesbian gay organizations like Kkiri Kkiri and Dongsungaeja Inkwon Yondae.
* Visits to progressive media organizations.
* Meeting activists in human rights organization and newly-emerging citizens rights groups like People’s Solidarity for Participatory Democracy (PSPD).
* Meeting labor organizers from the Korean Confederation of Trade Unions (KCTU).
* Visits to a foreign migrant workers center.
* Exploration of environmental and urban poor issues.
* Gonghwal - an extended exposure to working conditions in factories.
* Visits to Sae Um Tuh, a center that assists and organizes women who work in the sex industry around U.S. military bases.
* Tours of the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ), which divides north and south Korea.
* Workshops on traditional poongmul drumming.
* Participation in unification events around August 15th (Liberation Day).
Please visit our Facebook page and become a fan of KEEP.
To read about past KEEP 2008 trip through the group blog: http://www.keep2008.blogspot.com