Student to Give Talk on North Korea Trip

November 9th, 2012 | Categories: Uncategorized

Shawn Dacey

After spending two weeks in North Korea, SUNY Oneonta student Shawn Dacey is eager to share what he learned about one of the world’s most isolated cultures.

The Geography and Social Studies Education major visited North Korea last spring during a 25-day tour of Asia planned as part of an independent study with Dr. James Mills, associate professor of Geography.

Dacey will give a public presentation about his experiences in North Korea at 6 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 13, in Lecture Hall 5 of the Instructional Resources Center on the college campus. The presentation is free and members of the community are invited to attend.

As part of a tour group of 22 that included two other Americans, Dacey said the most surprising thing about the trip was the access he had. The two North Korean guides assigned to the group showed them the expected sights: a public celebration commemorating the 100th birthday of the late president Kim il Sung; a flower festival, steel factory, theme park and several national monuments in the capital city of Pyongyang; and the government propaganda that’s plastered on billboards and across hillsides.

But Dacey was also able to talk with people, take hundreds of uncensored photos and visit the countryside. He saw gorgeous beaches protected by electric fences, the wall along the DMZ and farmers working the fields with old-fashioned equipment, and he got a rare outsider look at a large military parade.

Though Dacey planned and paid for the trip on his own, he tied it to his academic coursework with support from professors in several disciplines. Prior to the trip, he presented a paper on North Korea at SUNY Oneonta’s annual Undergraduate Political Science Conference. As part of his independent study, he collaborated with Dr. Mills on a conference paper about environmental sustainability in North Korea.

The Delhi Central School graduate says traveling is his passion, and he is thrilled to have achieved his goal of “22 by 21.” At age 21, he has visited 22 countries: Canada, Ireland, England, Spain, Belgium, France, Wales, the Netherlands, Germany, Austria, Monaco, Wales, Italy, the Vatican, San Marino, Greece, Turkey, Czech Republic, United Arab Emirates, China, North Korea and South Korea.