Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Lao American Writers Profile: Bounheng Inversin

Bounheng Inversin was born in Savannakhet, Laos. She moved to Vientiane at the age of 9 when her father was appointed to the Supreme Court. She graduated from the Lycee the Vientiane with a Baccalaureate in French Literature and Philosophy. Bounheng Inversin married in 1974 and moved to the US with her American-born Swiss husband. 
While raising her two sons in the US, she worked as substitute teacher and attended the University of Maryland at College Park where she graduated with B.S. in Community and Family Studies, B.A. in Spanish Literature, and a Certificate in Women Studies. Later on she attended graduate school and received her Master of Social Work (MSW) from the University of Maryland at Baltimore with a concentration in Social Action. With her background in community activism, she is very engaged in empowering women and younger generation in her work with the Lao American Women Association (LAWA) of Washington D.C. where she took Lao American women's visibility to the mainstream as LAWA co-sponsored International Women's Conference and others. 
She edited (with Danield Duffy) and translated "Mother's Beloved: Stories from Laos (1999) by UWPress. She is a contributor on Lao Rites of Passage for the upcoming publication "Encyclopedia of Asian American Folklore and Folklife" by Jonathan Lee and Kathleen Nadeau (2010) by Greenwood Pub. She was a guest lecturer on "Women and Culture" at the George Washington University in Washington DC and University of Maryland, has taught at the International Management Institute (IMI) of the American University in Washington, D.C. She also taught Lao Language and Culture at the South East Asia Studies Summer Institute (SEASSI) at the University of Wisconsin at Madison. 
With her fluency and ease in languages, she finds flexibility as an independent consultant on languages for numerous semi-private establishments and various federal agencies (she has had the honor to fly to Phuket, Thailand to interpret for US Secretary Hilary Clinton on her attending the ASEAN Summit last year and this year upon her meeting with the Lao Deputy PM when he recently visited the US). 
She resides in MD with her husband who is a retired engineer and an avid organic gardener. This year they'll celebrate their 36th anniversary in October. She travels extensively, for learning is a lifelong endeavor. In her stationary times, she volunteers at the Library of Congress-Asian Division, at the Smithsonian Institution-Sackler Library, and her local Buddhist temple where she recently set up school of Engaged Buddhist with lessons on Buddhism for young generation. She is fluent in Lao, English, French, Spanish, and some American Sign Language (ASL) which she studied at the Gallaudet University. About a year ago, she began learning to play Ranat Ek, Kim (Dulcimer), and So U (two-string bass Lao folk fiddle)

We look forward to her joining us during the Lao American Writers Summit!

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