Who Are We?

We are Rotarians – and like minded humanitarians

Korean Friendship Network of Rotarians (KFNR) is an informal network of Rotarians and members of our extended Rotary family (Rotarians, Rotaractors, Interacters, Rotary Fellowship Groups, Rotarian Action Groups, etc.) – who wish to help people in North Korea through service projects that are aligned with Rotary ideals.

Rotary is a network of more than 34000 clubs and 1.2 million Rotarians around the world. Rotarians are business and community leaders. We are busy people who like to get things done -efficiently. We like to see budgets, we like to get things done on time, we like to see results, and we like to build successful models and see them scale.

We are DPR Koreans

Because the DPRK (North Korea) is still a "non-Rotary country" it is quite difficult for Rotarians to connect with reliable counterparts in the country to create and implement worthy service projects.

We are the bridge.

KFNR members bridge the gap by facilitating communication between interested parties on both sides to help projects get accomplished in a country where many would think it impossible to build bonds of friendship and to collaborate with local professionals to help those most in need.

To learn more about us see our Team page.

PHF Dr. Massimo Urbani was posted 3 times to Pyongyang (with the WHO, UNICEF and representing the Italian government) and says that "the [North] Koreans are like a mirror: smile at them and they smile back, frown at them and they frown back." Simple face to face communication quickly breaks down barriers and builds sincere collaboration and friendships.

PHF Dr. Massimo Urbani was posted 3 times to Pyongyang (with the WHO, UNICEF and representing the Italian government) and says that "the [North] Koreans are like a mirror: smile at them and they smile back, frown at them and they frown back." Simple face to face communication quickly breaks down barriers and builds sincere collaboration and friendships.

Rotary’s unique role

Rotary has a unique role to play in building trust and better communication with people in the DPRK. The Fourth "Object of Rotary" - our philosophical foundation, promotes:

The advancement of international understanding, goodwill, and peace through a world fellowship of business and professional persons united in the ideal of service.

Rotary's motto is “Service Above Self.” Rotarians are "wired" to serve their clubs and to serve their communities via community service projects. Service projects can be large or small, done alone within a club or together with others, and frequently with outside partners.

We are all business and community leaders and it is for this reason that we are not seen by our DPRK counterparts as a typical NGO or charity organization, but as a business organization. Our key partner within the DPRK is within the Ministry of External Economic Cooperation, not the Ministry of Foreign Affairs that handles other humanitarian organizations. This makes a big difference in how we are treated.

Rotary clubs engage in community service on a global scale. Rotary clubs and individual Rotarians are encouraged to bring life to the fourth Object by connecting with – and working in partnership with Rotarians in other countries, to implement service projects where the need is greatest. In Rotary lingo we call this “World Community Service” or WCS for short.

Rotary is present in more than 200 countries and regions, and WCS projects are typically conducted between two or more clubs in their own countries, often with the financial support of the Rotary Foundation.The latter is generally not available for projects in “non-Rotary countries” and so many Rotarians do not think about pushing deeper into the non-Rotary countries. We do - and so we have a focus on bringing Rotary's model of service to the DPRK (North Korea), a non-Rotary country.

We welcome your support!