Choson Exchange

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Choson Exchange is a Singapore-registered social enterprise focusing on economic policy, business and legal training for young North Koreans in the Democratic People's Republic of Korea. Choson Exchange brings foreign volunteers to teach entrepreneurship, business, marketing, law or economics, after which the volunteers tour relevant sites in North Korea. They also sponsor North Koreans to go overseas for exposure and learning. Programs include economic policy, entrepreneurship and financial sector development.[1]

The organization has trained over 1,600 North Koreans since 2009.[2] Choson Exchange is the largest business network in North Korea and the most active organization training Koreans in economic areas. It has been profiled as a Harvard Business School case study and was cited by futurist Parag Khanna's book Connectography as "the most prominent international nongovernmental organization operating in North Korea".[3][4] In 2018, the Washington Post cited Choson Exchange's work bringing North Koreans to Singapore as a reason why Singapore was chosen as the site of the first Summit between the leaders of the United States and DPRK, Donald J. Trump and Kim Jong Un.[5]


Choson Exchange was founded by Geoffrey See, a Yale University and Wharton School graduate and MIT Researcher, who began negotiations over educational exchange with North Koreans in 2007.[1] The organization focuses on providing “training and advisory in topics related to business, economics, finance and law” in North Korea.[6]

Current Projects[edit]

Choson Exchange organizes workshops in Pyongyang, Wonsan and Rason focusing on economics, business and law and also conducts training programs overseas. Workshop leaders all volunteer in their private capacity, but previous trainings have featured the ex-Finance Minister of Singapore, ex-Chairman of Singapore International Airlines, bankers from Goldman Sachs and Bank of America Merrill Lynch as well as big-four consultancies, major tech companies and startups.[7] Choson Exchange workshop fall into two main tracks, one focused on business and management skills, the other on broader economic management issues. Major programs in these fields include the Women in Business program, aimed at supporting female entrepreneurs and managers and the Provincial Development Program, focused on the governance of DPRK Special Economic Zones.[8][9] The organization also supports young North Koreans with internships and scholarships for longer, master's-level study programs.[10]

Choson Exchange compiles and distributes economic and business materials in various formats for audiences in North Korea.[11] The non-profit is also exploring options for supporting an economic think tank and an incubation space in North Korea.[12] The founder is a member of the Kauffman Fellows Program, a leadership program for venture capitalists and those involved in building out entrepreneurial ecosystems.

Research and Outreach[edit]

Choson Exchange studies and reports on changes in North Korea’s economic policy and investment laws for an international audience.[13][14][15] Choson Exchange staff also provide analysis on political or social events, particularly as they relate to the economic life of the DPRK.[16][17][18]

The organization is also regularly cited by international news organizations on political and economic developments in North Korea, having appeared in the New York Times, the Washington Post, the Guardian, the Economist, Reuters, the Associated Press, China Daily and others.[19][20][21][22][23][24][25]


  1. ^ a b "North Koreans learn lessons in Singapore". Korea JoongAng Daily. JoongAng Media Network. 22 October 2011. Retrieved 13 March 2016. 
  2. ^ "Annual Report 2015" (PDF). 12 March 2016. Retrieved 19 May 2016. 
  3. ^ "Going Rogue: Choson Exchange in North Korea". Harvard Business School. Retrieved Nov 2, 2016. 
  4. ^ "". Parag Khanna. 
  5. ^ "Trump and Kim will meet in Singapore 2018". Washington Post. 10 May 2018. Retrieved 16 May 2018. 
  6. ^ "Our Programs". Choson Exchange. Retrieved 13 March 2016. 
  7. ^ "NK Bureaucrats Want to Learn About Singapore's Economic Development". YonHap News (in Korean). YonHap News Agency. 18 October 2011. Retrieved 13 March 2016. 
  8. ^ "Choson Exchange 2013 Women in Business Project". North Korean Economy Watch. 5 February 2014. Retrieved 13 March 2016. 
  9. ^ "Can North Korea Make SEZ Work?". Choson Exchange. 27 April 2014. 
  10. ^ "Choson Exchange looking for DPRK student mentor". North Korean Economy Watch. 15 December 2010. Retrieved 13 March 2016. 
  11. ^ "NGO Presents KN Development Materials". MK News (in Korean). 21 October 2011. 
  12. ^ "Can North Korea create a startup culture?". E27. Geoffrey K See. 15 September 2014. Retrieved 13 March 2016. 
  13. ^ Ramstad, Evan (22 July 2011). "NK Follows China in Legal FDI Framework". The Wall Street Journal. Dow Jones & Company, Inc. Retrieved 13 March 2016. 
  14. ^ "The Complete Guide to North Korea Investment Laws". Choson Exchange. 2 June 2014. Retrieved 13 March 2016. 
  15. ^ Abrahamian, Andray (August 2012). ""The Honeymoon Period Is Over": Short Report on Rason Special Economic Zone, Democratic People's Republic of Korea August, 2012" (PDF). Choson Exchange. Retrieved 13 March 2016. 
  16. ^ Abrahamian, Andray (1 August 2014). "The North Korean women driving economic change". The Guardian. Guardian News and Media Limited. Retrieved 13 March 2016. 
  17. ^ Abrahamian, Andray (9 July 2014). "Hello Kitty, Hello Wonsan". 38 North. Retrieved 13 March 2016. 
  18. ^ Abrahamian, Andray (7 January 2014). "Give Dennis Rodman a break". CNN. Cable News Network. Retrieved 13 March 2016. 
  19. ^ "In the News". Choson Exchange. Retrieved 13 March 2016. 
  20. ^ Branigan, Tania; McCurry, Justin (19 December 2011). "After Kim Jong-il's death, what next for the people of North Korea?". The Guardian. Guardian News and Media Limited. Retrieved 13 March 2016. 
  21. ^ Pearson, James; Munroe, Tony (9 October 2014). "For Kim-watchers, N.Korean anniversary on Friday is pivotal". Yahoo News. Reuters. Retrieved 13 March 2016. 
  22. ^ Sang-Hun, Choe (30 October 2014). "North Korea Said to Impose Ebola Quarantine on All Travelers". The New York Times Company. The New York Times. Retrieved 13 March 2016. 
  23. ^ Fifield, Anna (21 March 2015). "North Koreans take a lesson in business, starting with a 'lean canvas'". The Washington Post. Retrieved 13 March 2016. 
  24. ^ H.T. (20 June 2013). "The Big Mac Index Goes to North Korea: Cheeseburger in Paradise Island". The Economist Newspaper Limited. The Economist. Retrieved 13 March 2016. 
  25. ^ Talmadge, Eric (16 August 2014). "Building fail sheds light on N. Korean priorities". Associated Press. Retrieved 13 March 2016. 

External links[edit]