Gilad Cohen – Executive Director
Gilad Cohen first became connected to North Korea when he had the opportunity to travel to Kaesong City, North Korea for the day. Although he didn’t witness human rights abuses firsthand, this trip inspired him to learn more about the country. What he learned horrified him. Over the next four years, Gilad became more actively involved in the North Korean human rights scene while volunteering with numerous NGOs both in Toronto, Canada, and Seoul, South Korea. Feeling the need to raise more awareness in his community, Gilad teamed up with others and launched the North Korean Human Rights Film Festival in 2012. Gilad has been invited to speak on the matter at Universities, Colleges and High Schools as well as media platforms including Radio Free Asia, Voice of America and the CBC. In 2012, Gilad was invited to participate and speak during the 19th session of the United Nations Human Rights Council meeting in Geneva, Switzerland. Gilad graduated with a post-graduate certificate in International Development Project Management.
Alicks Girowski – Director of Operations
Alicks Girowski is a skilled professional with ten years of event and volunteer management. She helped launch the London Ontario Live Arts Festival (LOLA) in 2006, where she served as Administrator/ General Manager from 2006-10 and aided in the development and management of numerous organizations. Since her move to Toronto in 2010, Alicks has been part of the Volunteer Resources and the Exhibitions team for the Toronto International Film Festival and has recruited, trained and supervised over 2,300 volunteers annually. Most recently, Alicks assisted Hot Docs in coordinating the volunteers for their 2013 festival. Excellent team communication in addition to staff and event organization has led her to complete many successful events ranging from film to music to art.
Jane Kim – Director of Resource Development
Learning about the human rights crisis in North Korea early on has led her to grow a huge heart and passion for social justice and universal human rights. Jane is originally from Calgary, where she completed the International Relations program at the University of Calgary. In her spare time, she does what she can to help out in the local community. Currently, she also volunteers with an organization called Rahab Ministry which seeks to reach out to women in the Greater Toronto Area who are trafficked into working in the sex trade industry. Her most memorable experiences include her volunteer trips to Rwanda and Ecuador. She hopes that one day she can do long term humanitarian work in the field.
Jake Park – Ambassador
As a North Korean, Jake assists Jayu in raising awareness of his country through personal experience and sharing his story with others. For Jake, awareness is an important first step to finding a solution. He recently got accepted to an Honours program at a prestigious University in Canada, a big feat considering he could not speak English just two years ago. In his spare time when he’s not exercising, he loves to spend time with his friends and family.
Vanessa Guidorizzi – Logistics Coordinator
Vanessa has always been interested in how art and storytelling can further human rights. She joined Jayu after reading defectors’ stories which made it clear that perceptions about the DPRK need to change. Toronto born and raised, Vanessa studied Political Science and Comparative Literature at the University of Toronto and is finishing up a post-graduate degree in International Development at Humber College. Prior to joining Jayu, she dabbled in project management, education and communications with NGOs and private businesses. She also has some less than common interests like archery, watching silent movies and making homemade pickles.
Elysse Kwon – Chapters Coordinator
As the former President of a North Korean human rights group at Wilfrid Laurier University, Elysse has spent the past 2 years creating awareness throughout the school community regarding the continuous human rights violations that the North Korean people face. As a recent graduate from Wilfrid Laurier University with an Honours Bachelor of Arts in Global Studies, Elysse is now working in Toronto while keeping her passion alive through working with Jayu. Her three favourite things in life are food, dance and analog photography.
Amy Clark – Volunteer Coordinator
Having grown up in Thunder Bay, Ontario, Amy is a Community Health Sciences graduate from Brock University and currently pursuing a certificate in Business Management at the University of Toronto. Amy has spent five years extensively traveling Asia and living in South Korea.
In 2008, Amy had the opportunity to cross the DMZ and travel to Kaesong City in North Korea. At that time she was unaware of the humanitarian issues facing the citizens of North Korea but she immediately knew something wasn’t right. She was instantaneously curious and after some research her thirst for knowledge about North Korea became insatiable and her passion for human rights issues in North Korea was born.
Leah Vlemmiks - Artistic Director
Clara Yoon – Sponsorship Coordinator
Clara recently completed her graduate studies in the MA Global Governance program at the University of Waterloo. She spent the past year focusing her research on the human rights situation in North Korea and covered the following topics: the North Korean gulag, the trafficking of North Korean refugee women in China, and the North Korean human rights transnational advocacy network. Clara was also the co-founder and president of the Liberty in North Korea (LiNK) chapter at Wilfrid Laurier University during her undergraduate studies. Prior to this, she was the media intern with People for Successful COrean REunification (PSCORE) in Seoul, South Korea. Her other passions include traveling, graphic design and media, and fashion.