Introducing the New APRRN Deputy Chair: Mr. Yiombi Thona

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Yiombi Thona received an M.A in Economics from Kinshasa University in the Congo and an M.A in NGO Studies from Sungkonghoe University in Korea. He is also currently a Political Science Ph.D. candidate at Ottawa University in Canada. He has received certificates on Refugee Mental Health (from APRRN in Hong Kong), on Forced Migration and Refugees from York University in Canada, and on Human Rights at Korea University. After working as a National Intelligence Officer in the Congo for more than seven years, he was forced to flee from persecution in his country and was granted refugee status in South Korea.

Mr. Yiombi is a well-known refugee rights activist in South Korea. He recently published a book, “My name is Yiombi: Living as a Refugee in South Korea.” This book is seen as a “refugee manifesto,” due to its positive reception by Korean scholars. Recently, he was featured in a famous documentary on KBS, the Korean public TV channel. After graduating from Sungkonghoe University in 2010 in NGO Studies (MA), he has been a regular guest lecturer at many Korean universities. That same year, he was nominated as an Adviser at the Asia Pacific Refugee Rights Network. Three years later he was elected Chair of the APRRN East Asia Working Group. Less than a year after participating in the UNHCR-NGOs Consultations in Geneva, he was elected as the APRRN Deputy Chair.

Currently, Mr. Thona is an Assistant Professor at Gwangju University, where he teaches courses on human rights, forced migration, diaspora, NGOs, and race and gender. He views his activities related to refugees, race and gender discrimination, and multicultural families as his greatest priority. Mr. Thona would like to take this opportunity to thank all APRRN members for the trust they have placed in him; he promises to work diligently and remain committed to APRRN’s principles to protect refugees in the region.

Welcome Mr. Yiombi Thona! APRRN is thrilled to have you as the new Deputy Chair.

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