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Jiwoon Hwang


Svalbard Visa-free Refugee

Settlement Project

Cosmopolitan epicentre of commerce, diplomacy and

entrepreneurship and/or open-border refugee settlement
Svalbard is an Arctic Island of Norway, which do not require visa to reside and work indefinitely
for any nationalities.
I graduated Draper University, prominent international entrepreneurship programme in Silicon
Valley, founded by Venture Capitalist Tim Draper, co-founder of Draper Fisher Jurvetson, which
invested Tesla and SpaceX of Elon Musk, Skype, Baidu and Hotmail. I attended
entrepreneurship programme in South Korea also. I used to enjoy making robots and won the
competition with my separate collection robot.
When I was traveling Europe, I decided to visit Svalbard. I visited here two months ago. What
amazed me was its great scenery and moreover, its open-border policy welcoming every world
citizens. After going through 7-weeks entrepreneurship bootcamp in Silicon Valley, I decided to
develop Svalbard as international hub of creativity, entrepreneurship and cosmopolitanism.
The most likely candidate for the place might be Austre Adventfjord, abandoned property which
is owned by Austre Adventfjord AS, family company of Henning Horn, his sisters, et al.
The open-border policy of Svalbard is stipulated by Paragraph 1, Article 3 of the Svalbard
Treaty of 1920, Paris. It is one of the most distinctive fact of Svalbard. Although the Treaty only
says about signatory nationals right to abode, it has been chosen policy so far (Sefland, 2006,
http://www.aljazeera.com/archive/2006/07/200841012024779644.html) to welcome everyone.
What made a lot of Thai people live in Longyearbyen, although Thailand is not even a signatory
of the Svalbard Treaty.


Svalbard is the only civilian settlement that do not require residence permit (visa) for any
nationalities. Antarctica, International Water or Space (including Moon and Mars) is not a
civilian settlement and much more difficult to settle.
Paragraph 2, Article 13 of Universal Declaration of Human Rights provides every human have
the right to leave ones native country. This right constitutes one of three rights of the right of
expatriation, the human right which is rarely known concerning the right to emigrate and change
I deeply believe every person have the right to abode anywhere in the world as human right,
natural and inherent. Saying the person have the right to live only within border of her country is
saying Vatican Citizens can only live within 0.44 sq km, while Russian Citizens entitled to 16
million sq km. Enfranchisement of aliens right of entry or abode on conditional admissibility
criteria is inconsistent with fundamental principle of equality and human rights, although
disenfranchisement of aliens right to entry or abode on strict inadmissibility criteria under due
process might be permissible.
Because the every sovereign country have the right to approve admission of aliens on stringent
criteria, all world citizens are effectively disenfranchised of the right of expatriation. Particularly
if the person concerned is national of developing country. According to Gallup, 700 million
people in the world wishing to emigrate to foreign country permanently, which is 16% of worlds
adult population.
Article 7 of the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court provides deportation of legal
residents without grounds permitted under international law as one of crimes against humanity,
subject to jurisdiction thereof, subject to penalty of up to life imprisonment.
Most of the world citizens dont know Svalbard is visa-free to reside and work, its likely most of
the world citizens haven't heard of Svalbard once.
Theres a futuristic concept called Seasteading, establishment of permanent settlement on the
international water, outside jurisdiction of any state. Seasteading is supported by predominantly
libertarians and futurists, including Silicon Valley venture capitalist Peter Thiel, co-founder of
PayPal, investor of Facebook, LinkedIn, Tesla Motors and SpaceX. There was a start-up called
Blueseed in Silicon Valley, raised around $10 million, which tried to float a cruise ship 12 nautical


miles outside the shore of Silicon Valley, for international entrepreneurs to start a company
without U.S. work visa, commuting to the Silicon Valley with the daily perry ship on short-term
Business Visitor status (ESTA or B1) if needed.
It is possible Svalbard to become an international entrepreneurship hub. Programmes such as
Start-Up Chile, Start-Up Denmark or Paris Tech Ticket grants visa for the selected
entrepreneurs, but the evaluation takes long time and often only accepts applications once or
twice a year only. Svalbard have a cheap flight to Oslo with Norwegian Air Shuttle, allowing easy
access to EU market, and theres a transatlantic non-stop flight from Oslo to Oakland also with
Norwegian, providing cheap access to Silicon Valley.
Another possibility for the growth of Svalbard might be refugee settlement. Although this might
not be very welcomed by the community or Norwegian Government. Theres Egyptian
Billionaire called Naguib Sawiris, the owner of Orascom, suggested to buy an island of Greece
or Italy to settle 200,000 refugees, actually negotiated with the government, but havent succeed
so far. Particularly, immigration legislations of Greece or Italy preclude to accept refugees
without approval of the government.
Gapminder, the brain child of Hans Rosling, clearly
demonstrates strong positive correlation between the
latitude and GDP per capita (look the graph). We can
easily notice strong correlation between latitude in terms
of proximity to the nearer poles (distance to the
equator), whether the country is on the norther
hemisphere or southern hemisphere. (FREE TO USE!
Thanks to my 7-weeks stay in Silicon Valley, I became acquainted with some prominent Silicon
Valley entrepreneurs and venture capitalists, getting their interest and support. Im wondering
whether Austre Adventfjord AS willing to sell the Austre Adventfjord for how much price. It
might be possible to develop Austre Adventfjord with Austre Adventfjord AS. Draper University,
which I just finished, was started with Benjamin Franklin Hotel, historical hotel which was gone
out of business for a few years, now Draper University is one of most prominent
entrepreneurship programme in the world.


I deeply believe settlement in Arctic or Antarctica is much more feasible and practical than
settlement in Moon or Mars. Also, settlement in Arctic will be cornerstone for seasteading,
underwater city or settlement in Moon or Mars. Im looking forward to Austre Adventfjord
become one of major global and cosmopolitan hub of commerce, diplomacy and
entrepreneurship, along with New York, London, Hong Kong, Singapore, Geneva and Silicon
I hope development of Svalbard as open-border epicentre of cosmopolitanism and
humanitarianism will lead to the World Schengen Agreement or at least World (International)
Freedom of Movement, and EUnization of the United Nations in terms of peace, mobility,
democracy, prosperity and human rights in due course. Youre welcome to contact me for any
suggestions, ideas, etc..