Thank you again for registering for TNKR’s 10th English Speech Contest, taking place at the Grand Hyatt Hotel (Itaewon) on September 1, 2019 from 2 p.m. Please read the information below. According to surveys, 42.7% of people who fail to read such important information show up to events confused. That is, if they make it at all. On the other hand, 100% of people who read such important information arrive prepared, informed, and happier.

We encourage you to print your ticket or have it readily available on your mobile device to present upon registration at the contest.


Date and Time: September 1, 2019, from 2:00 p.m.
Location:  Grand Hyatt Hotel, Namsan Hall, 2nd Floor

Check here for details about the contest. (including directions, information about parking, links to important information).


The speech contest is scheduled to start at 2 pm. Our volunteer team will start arriving at least an hour in advance, doors will be open to the public from 1:00 p.m. If you arrive early, please ignore the activity or join in to help!

We advise attendees to arrive from around 1:30 pm so we can process registration smoothly. We have more than 100 people signed up, so we hope to avoid a traffic jam at the registration desk if many attendees arrive at 1:50 p.m. fumbling around for their confirmation email, then all trying to squeeze through the door at the same time.


Thanks to those of you who will be bringing a guest with you. To properly process registration, send the name and email of the guest so I can generate a separate ticket for each guest. The registration team has been directed to check the ID of everyone who attends the contest.


Please join us in helping the speakers to feel comfortable, it isn’t easy for some of them to speak out publicly about sensitive topics. So, as a reminder:

  • Privacy: No recordings (video or audio) or photographs except by approved media and TNKR staff. Even then, a few of the contestants will speak on the condition that there will be no photographs or recordings, so we will clearly announce which speakers don’t want to be recorded or photographed at all by media.
  • Off-the-record: Several of the speakers will be discussing sensitive aspects of their stories that they have never discussed publicly. Therefore, several of them have also asked attendees not to write blog posts or articles about what they hear. So it will be a truly special event for those in attendance.
  • Contact info: Don’t ask the speakers for their contact information. You can meet them–by becoming a volunteer with TNKR or working with us to arrange future speech opportunities. Some people have ignored us at previous contests and events. We occasionally have pro-North Korea sympathizers join our events, and we don’t want the comfort of this contest to lull refugees into sharing their personal information with others. We have also had some reporters who made contact with refugees at the speech contest, then would stalk them until they could get a story out of them.
  • 100% ID check: Please have your ticket printed out or on a mobile device, along with state-level ID. Because we occasionally have North Korea sympathizers showing up at such events trying to monitor the refugees, we like to know who is coming to the contest. Please help us protect the security and privacy of refugees by cooperating with the registration process and being as prepared as possible with your ticket and ID ready when you approach registration. Even if my own relatives show up to the event without state-level ID, I have instructed staff to turn them away. This is very serious. If you don’t show ID matching the name you registered under, you won’t be allowed in. Walk-ins also need to show an ID that matches the name they register with on the spot. If you need to change the name you have registered with, no problem, just message me at CJL(@) . Please help us protect the security and privacy of refugees by cooperating with the registration process and being as prepared as possible with your ticket and ID ready when you approach registration.
  • Not an open forum: Some of the speakers are experiencing last-minute stress and anxiety. Some of them can’t wait to finish speaking.


Check-in at reception at Namsan Hall on the second floor, whiz through registration with your ID and confirmation email, then you can enter Namsan Hall. Security will be tight, this is the Hyatt Hotel.

To expedite registration: Be sure to bring a print out of your ticket or have it ready on your favorite mobile device that you will turn off and hide during the event. Be ready to show an ID matching the name.

First-come, first seated: We plan to start promptly at 2 pm, our volunteer team will be arriving from 12:20 pm to have things set up.

Wrapping up: We plan to finish the contest by 4:30 pm. We have the room until 6 p.m., but certainly we hope to wrap things up early. We would like to take a group photo, so please stick around for that so we can show how many people were in the room (the refugees will hide their faces then).

Raffle! After the contest has finished, we will then hold a raffle! We have several gifts that have been donated, check the TNKR Instagram page to see some of the great prizes!

Following-up: After previous contests, we have had some volunteers who wanted to join. Check this link, get involved as a Track 1 tutor or join our International Volunteer Leadership Academy.

Payment for this contest: Yes, TNKR fundraisers can credit the money they paid for this contest to their fundraisers. Message me to remind me. CJL(@)


Yes, it is available, but please check with the Hyatt Hotel directly, we have no control over parking at the Hyat Hotel (find links here).


If there are any updates then they will be posted on this page and we will send out an email for anything really important.

Directions to the Hyatt

One of the most important questions for any event: “How can I get there?” It doesn’t matter how good an event is or could be, if you don’t know how to get there!
If you are thinking about joining TNKR’s 10th English speech contest, but you aren’t sure where the Hyatt is, then this message is for you.
TNKR co-founder Eunkoo Lee called the Hyatt Hotel directly, she learned that there are two shuttle buses that can take you to the Hyatt Hotel (one from Itaewon, one from Myeongdong).
Thanks to TNKR office volunteer staffer Alex Kim, we have videos!
1) Itaewon station exit 1, on the hour (or 5 past the hour in some cases).
Just stand outside Itaewon station exit 1, catch the kind of bus you can see in the video that is clearly marked “Grand Hyatt.” It will drop you off at the hotel.
At the Hyatt Hotel website, there is plenty of information about directions, maps, parking, and you can always call guest services listed on the Hyatt Website.
After arriving at the Hyatt Hotel, your challenge will be to get to the second floor, and to arrive at Namsan Hall.
According to Eunkoo Lee, the Hyatt Hotel will post signs to help you get to the second floor, the contest will be held at Namsan Hall.
2) Myeongdong station exit 4, hour departure (at the :10 minute mark of every hour).
This is another option for you to arrive at the Hyatt Hotel. From Myeongdong Station exit 4, catch the Grand Hyatt shuttle going to the Hyatt Hotel.
(Please consider this as an FYI, the final confirmed information will always be posted at the eventbrite invitation.)
To register for the speech contest: