UWC’s First North Korean Student: Kim Han-sol, Grandson of Kim Jong-il

Kim Han-sol (left) at UWC Mostar. Image from guardian.co.uk.

The United World Colleges are open for everyone – and that’s one of the reasons why I love them. Last year I heard rumours that a North Korean student would be attending a UWC for the first time ever – and not just any North Korean student, but Kim Han-sol, a grandson of the former North Korean ruler Kim Jong-il and nephew of the current ruler Kim Jong-un. Some people seemed to be not too happy about the news, however, I thought it was brilliant: I think it’s crucial that persons from whichever part of society they are born into go to UWC, because whatever ideas they might come with, they will be challenged in a way they won’t have been challenged before. That’s why UWC alumni include the Dutch crown prince Willem-Alexander, Nelson Mandela’s grandson Mandla, orphans from SOS villages in China and Afghani refugees (and plain ol’ nobodies like me 🙂 ). It’s the extreme multi-cultural/multi-societal kind of exposure and the realisation that there isn’t just one way of existing in this world that leads to better understanding of our differences and, in the long term, might make a difference (as overly idealistic as that may sound).

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