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  • Young Choi Editor

Interview with Aiyoung Choi, Chair of the Board of Directors of Women Cross DMZ

Courtesy of WCDMZ

Q, Introduce yourself. What is your role at WCDMZ?

A, My name is Aiyoung Choi and I am Chair of the Board of Directors of Women Cross DMZ.

Q, What is WCDMZ and what is its mission?

Courtesy of WCDMZ

A, Women Cross DMZ is a US-based global women-led nonprofit organization working to create a path to peace on the Korean Peninsula. We were formed shortly after a group of 30 international peacebuilders (many from countries that had participated in the Korean War) crossed from North Korea to South Korea in 2015, calling for an end to the ongoing Korean War, reunion of separated families, and the leadership of women in building peace. Our leaders were Gloria Steinem, Christine Ahn, Nobel Peace Laureates Leymah Gbowee and Mairead Maguire. On this historic and heartfelt journey, we met with women on both sides of the border, strengthening our mission and resolve to reach peace on the Korean Peninsula through education, organizing, advocacy, and diplomacy.

Q, What are some of WCDMZ’s major accomplishments/impacts to date?

Courtesy of WCDMZ

A, Our work over the past 7 years has led to a growing awareness both in the US and globally that the Korean War, begun in June 1950, never ended. It was merely halted with a “temporary” Armistice Agreement in July 1953, after over 4 million people - mostly civilians – perished, and the entire peninsula was reduced to ashes. Thus, we have been in a continuous state of war for 70 years that has led to an uncontrolled arms race and mounting threats of a renewed war – one that could engulf not only the Asia Pacific region but far beyond. Due to our unrelenting calls to formally end the Korean War with a durable peace treaty, this unabated, perilous scenario has now become starkly clearer -- at the United Nations, the US Congress, and champions of peace across the world.

Courtesy of WCDMZ

Together with our partners the Korean Women’s Movement for Peace, Nobel Women’s Initiative, and Women’s International League for Peace & Freedom, in 2019 WCDMZ launched “Korea Peace Now!” a global campaign that today has a grassroots network of 10 chapters of peace activists across the US. Other key partners are major peace organizations such as Peace Action USA; Veterans for Peace; Women Against War; American Friends Service Committee, the Mennonite Committee, The Ignis Community, and many more. We have spoken to audiences in the halls of governments, student campuses, churches and community centers. Our voices urged the recent reintroduction in Congress of H.R. 1369 “Peace on the Korean Peninsula Act” and other Congressional Acts that have urged the US Government to lower barriers to peace in Korea. We have convened international peace conferences in Indonesia, South Korea, Canada, US and China, and have published several highly acclaimed reports including “The Human Costs & Gendered Impact of Sanctions on Korea,” and “The Path to Peace.”

Q, Introduce the documentary film CROSSINGS, and provide details of the NYC screening in New York City on April 20, 2023.

Courtesy of WCDMZ

A, CROSSINGS is a 90-minute documentary film directed by Emmy Award-winning filmmaker Deann Borshay Liem of Mu Films who, with me, was one of the 30 delegates in the 2015 DMZ Crossing from North Korea to South Korea. In this intensely moving and inspiring film, she trains her lens on the daily activities of 30 international women peacemakers as they visit Pyongyang and the surrounding countryside for 5 days. We walk and talk with 2 generations of North Korean women about their tragic experiences and memories of the Korean War, and their deep yearning for peace and reconciliation. It is a film that will touch all who see it, as it is not only a very human story about the brutality and destruction of war, but also an extraordinary story about how a small group of women from around the world – many who had never met each other before -- came together with a shared vision for peace on the Korean Peninsula. It sparked a global movement that has succeeded in bringing the dark tragedy of Korea’s forgotten war out of the shadows, into the light.

Courtesy of WCDMZ

On Thursday April 20, 2023, CROSSINGS will be shown at Manhattan Country School, 150 West 85th Street in New York City. Doors open at 6:30pm, and the film will start promptly at 7:00. Following the screening, there will be a Q&A session with panelists Christine Ahn, Founder & Executive Director of Women Cross DMZ; Deann Borshay Liem, Director/ Producer of CROSSINGS; Aiyoung Choi, Chair of the Board of Directors of WCDMZ and Ana Oliveira, President of the New York Women's Foundation will moderate.

Free with RSVP, donations will be greatly appreciated, at We are a nonprofit 501c(3) organization funded by friends & supporters. Donations in any amount are welcome, and fully tax deductible. Thank you!!

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