Peering into the Hermit Kingdom: My Experiences on the Fringes of North Korea — Presentation to the Albury Rotary Club

Ben Habib in Yanji, Yanbian Korean Autonomous Prefecture, China (December 2011).


On Wednesday 7th March 2012 I made a presentation to the Rotary Club of Albury Hume entitled Peering into the Hermit Kingdom: My Experiences on the Fringes of North Korea.  In this presentation I gave a brief chronology of my experiences in and around Korea, touching on some of the interesting things I learnt along the way about Korean history, culture and the North Korean state.

I travelled to South Korea for the first time in 2002, not knowing anything about the divided peninsula or its people, but left with an abiding passion for Korea and its complicated history and political dynamics.

Ben Habib – Rotary Address – Peering Inside the Hermit Kingdom


International relations of the Korean peninsula has become my primary academic research interest, however there are some things you can only learn in-country, through experience, through making mistakes and through interaction with local people.

One of the most enjoyable aspects of overseas travel in the opportunity to share the knowledge and wisdom one gains abroad with people back home.

The acquisition and sharing of international experiences is something that clearly resonates with Rotarians, who have a long tradition of international interaction and numerous ongoing projects across many countries.  

I would like to thank Roger Lescun for the invitation to speak at the club’s weekly lunch and the members of the Rotary Club of Albury Hume for their warm hospitality.

Further Information:

Rotary Club of Albury Hume.

Rotary Australia.


Dr. Benjamin Habib is a Lecturer in Politics and International Relations at La Trobe University, Albury-Wodonga. Ben’s research project projects include North Korea’s motivations for nuclear proliferation, East Asian security, international politics of climate change, and undergraduate teaching pedagogy. He also teaches in Australian politics and the international relations of the Middle East.  Ben undertook his PhD candidature at Flinders University in Adelaide, Australia, and has worked previously for the Department of Immigration and Citizenship.  He has spent time teaching English in Dandong, China, and has also studied at Keimyung University in Daegu, South Korea.  Ben is involved with local community groups Wodonga and Albury Toward Climate Health (WATCH) and Transition Albury-Wodonga.

Ben welcomes constructive feedback.  Please comment below, or contact Ben at


The views in this story are those of the author and not necessarily those of Our Voice: Politics Albury-Wodonga.


One comment

  1. Correction: In my presentation I mistakenly refer to the monarch who oversaw the invention of hangul as King Kojong. It was of course King Sejong who was responsible for the ingenious Korean script and not King Kojong, the last emperor of the Yi Dynasty.

Leave a Reply to Politics Albury-Wodonga Cancel reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.