Alek Sigley became one of the first Westerners to study at Kim Il Sung University in Pyongyang, North Korea. There, he pursued a master’s degree in contemporary North Korean fiction, which was regrettably cut short by the North Korean secret police, who expelled him from the country after false accusations of espionage.

He will instead be finishing his master’s degree at the Center of East Asian Studies at Stanford University. His academic research has focused on the culture, society, and everyday life in North Korea. He holds a bachelor’s degree in Asian studies and philosophy from the Australian National University and has also studied at Ritsumeikan Asia Pacific University in Japan, Fudan University in China, and Sogang University in South Korea.

Alek, who is from Perth, Australia, is fluent in Chinese, Japanese and Korean, and is an avid fan of Japanese manga and anime.

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Alek Sigley (c) Hans Van