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2014-07-18, Day 1: Shanghai Austrian Economics Summit

I had an INCREDIBLE time at the Shanghai Austrian Economic Summit 2014, organized by Kenli Schoolland and Li Schoolland. Thanks to them for inviting me again. The conference was extra special this time because I was joined by three of my Freedom Factory colleagues. We had so much fun getting lost in Shanghai, bonding, and meeting and greeting so many people.

Yeonmi Park definitely stole the show. As several people at the summit mentioned--they talk about freedom, but she actually had to escape to it, at the risk of death. It was a busy week for her, with three speeches in seven days (Freedom Factory's "A Change is Gonna Come, a speech at Korea University, and the summit in China). She loves the many opportunities she has to travel abroad to speak, but this one was especially poignant because she was an illegal alien in China during 2007-09 after her immediate family escaped from North Korea. This time, she was a free woman, and loving it!

As for me, it was wonderful. I also gave a speech on the main day as I shared the stage with Yeonmi. I was co-host of the talent show, during which I rapped to Salt N' Pepa's Whattaman with my own version of the song, then showed off my intermediate level swing dance skills while dancing with Kenli and Yeonmi.



Yeonmi and I also got invited to give speeches in other parts of the world. So there could be more adventures coming up. Many more photos coming later.

Yeonmi and I spoke together on a panel, as I recall, we were featured presenters.


I did the warmup act presenting background info about North Korean refugees, then Yeonmi spoke.






But of course, she was the key person, even though she was a late invite.






With the welcoming party! Kenli Schoolland and Renee Cai!


Yeonmi Park talking--in English and Chinese--with Mao Yushi, the winner of the 2012 Milton Friedman Prize from the Cato Institute and an outspoken spokesman for freedom. 
His criticisms of chairman Mao almost landed him in prison. 


With Yoshida Hiroshi, our good friend from Japan! Eventually, we will make it to Japan, too!


Thanks, Kenli Schoolland, for putting together such a great conference!


Yeonmi Park holding a One Hundred Trillion dollar bill from Zimbabwe... courtesy of one of my favorite people, Ken Schoolland! 



Bitcoin never looked so good! Several of these ladies work with a Bitcoin company. Wang Qijun will be coming to Seoul and probably speaking at an event I will co-organize with Yoojin Lee.


She spoken at the opening banquet about Bitcoin.


With Riya Basnet, who insisted that she is my #1 fan.


Feng Xingyuan is a pro-market economist and professor at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, and Vice Director of Uniurle Institute of Economics in China. I swear, he can connect any topic to the benefits of the invisible hand...



With TNKR co-founder Eunkoo Lee, Ami Chheda and Riya Basnet





With Ami Chheda 





with Dr.Kriengsak Chareonwongsak เกรียงศักดิ์ เจริญวงศ์ศักดิ์, President of the Institute of Future Studies for Development in Thailand.


at the opening banquet, with the Freedom Factory team, a student from Korea and her mother, as well as my good buddy Ken Schoolland



Barun Mitra...we meet again, in yet another country...India, Korea, Malaysia, China... He can discuss almost any issue in the world, and does so often.^^



******************************************************


Traveling with Yeonmi, Eunkoo and Yoojin was a great experience--but one that I may never want to do again. We got so lost on the subway. Looking at those photos, I am not surprised we got lost a few times.


Don't battle with Yeonmi Park, she wants to win, and will punish you harshly when you lose... but will remind you that she is a tiny young lady when it is her turn to get punished...



Gotcha! 





Eunkoo was better at the games than I was, so she was able to get revenge for the last 16 months we have been working together..


Buying subway passes, probably after we had wasted money getting lost.






There was a minor controversy with an promotional photo. A MANEL! Only men on the panel. I had recommended Yeonmi as a speaker, but she wasn't confirmed as a speaker until she published a great article in the Washington Post, written with her radio co-host. Then later, I did such a great job recommending her, they deleted my photo from the lineup.




Various photos taken during our travels.









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