North Korea

Robert and Linda Shank teach at PUST in Pyongyang, North Korea.  Robert holds a doctorate in wheat breeding and has conducted rice research.  Linda holds a master's in counseling and learning disabilities.

News from North Korea

Newsline Special: Updates from Global Mission and Service
(June 22, 2017)
UPDATES FROM GLOBAL MISSION AND SERVICE 1) Brethren compound in South Sudan is looted by security forces 2) Linda and Robert Shank to stay in the US for the summer
Crop breeding success in North Korea
(December 6, 2013)
Global Mission and Service staff in North Korea, Robert Shank, reports important strides in the rice, soybean, and corn breeding research at Pyongyang University of Science and Technology (PUST), where he and his wife Linda are teaching. A new crop, barley, has been added to this work in 2014, and a Global Food Crisis Fund grant is helping expand the work to include small fruits.
Brethren couple to teach another semester at university in N. Korea
(February 22, 2012)
Robert and Linda Shank are preparing to return for another semester teaching at Pyongyang University of Science and Technology (PUST) in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea. The couple have been working in North Korea with sponsorship from the Global Mission and Service program of the Church of the Brethren.
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Older updates

Mid-September, 2011

"After two weeks of teaching we, as well as the students, are adapting. The eight graduate students get only Robert’s Breeding and Biotechnology classes until the Biochemistry teacher gets here later in September. The 20 undergrads get Robert’s Botany, as well as another teacher's Organic/Analytical along with two English classes. The 20 are real diggers--they want to go deep. We brought them ten pages of the 1000-page textbooks but they ask for more material. Linda composes the weekly quiz and grades papers for Robert’s classes. She is also starting TOEFL classes for the graduate students on Fridays. The rain must have been heavy this summer since the marigolds are all rotten, while last year they lasted up to the first hard freeze in October.

We are eating at home entirely. The cafeteria reduced the MSG but we still think it is too salty/peppery. Linda had frozen some meals before we left so we ate that until they granted our request for a special grocery run the third day. Now we have gone twice and have plenty--even bought two cases of irradiated milk.

The first week of October will host our PUST First International Conference on Science Diplomacy and Technology with 27 international speakers and 22 DPRK guests. It should be good to hear some of the talks. The after-conference tour will go to the apple breeding farm."

PUST formal Opening

On October 24, 2010, 16 international volunteer professors and administrators arrived at the Pyongyang, DPR Korea airport.  Pyongyang University of Science and Technology (PUST), the sister University to Yanbian University of Science and Technology (YUST), built at the request of the DPR Korea, funded by donations and under construction since 2002 was finally ready to open.  Professors from Canada, US, UK, and Holland were ready to teach English, ICT (information/computer technology), business management/finance , and  ALS (agriculture/life sciences) to 100 undergraduates and 58 graduate students.  

During the first week on campus the staff settled in to new offices and apartments.  Students arrived and settled into their dormitories, scouted the campus and got acquainted while the faculty prepared placement tests and arranged chairs for an opening ceremony.  Students filed into the classroom building while staff lined the hall and applauded them.  After commencement statements and the introduction of faculty, the group assembled outside for a formal picture of the first PUST family. For more information, see PUST and this article.