Skip to Content, Navigation, or Footer.

Jonathan Warren '09, Matthew Reichel '09 and Nicholas Young '09 sit on a sofa in their yellow living room discussing everything from North Korean propaganda to Loui's corn beef hash. On their right hangs a dry erase "inkling board" full of a year's worth of scribbled ideas for entrepreneurial schemes.

The three seniors — all double-majors in East Asian studies — received permission three weeks ago from the North Korean government to bring Americans there this summer. They had applied for permission in January, but hadn't expected to receive it since it is not easily granted, Reichel said.

Immediately after hearing the news, the three moved forward with their business plan: an educational program for students and professors in China and North Korea this summer. Warren, Reichel and Young will lead two groups of up to 23 students. Each trip will consist of six days in China, and will then move on to North Korea, at which point a native guide will take over and two North Korean "government minders" will join the group. In North Korea, trip-members will see the Mass Games, a nationalistic, highly regimented form of performing arts. The price of the trip will run about $1499 for students.

They've named their program "5 passes," after the region in the far west of China where it will be based. Kashgar — where they hope to establish their first office — sits at the center of five major mountain passes to neighboring countries. The three founders have lived in China and spent significant time in North Korea and surrounding areas, establishing personal contacts as well as cultural and business knowledge of the region. Within three weeks, around 25 people have expressed their interest in the trip, including professors from University of California at Berkeley and Brown.

Come September, they hope to move out west to Pakistan and Kyrgyzstan to start community-based tourism projects using the capital they'll have earned over the summer.
When asked if they are nervous, all three founding members said, "not at all."
"My parents are," Warren said. "Does that count?"


Powered by SNworks Solutions by The State News
All Content © 2022 The Brown Daily Herald, Inc.