The Lao American Writers Society is beginning outreach to see if different college campuses and institutions would be interested in having Lao American writers or artists speak to students during the 2014-2015 academic year.
The 2014-2015 year is a significant one for the Lao community in the United States because it marks 60 years since the recognition of Lao independence by the United Nations and 40 years since the end of the Lao civil war and the start of the Lao diaspora. 2015 is also 20 years since the founding of the SatJaDham Lao Literary Project.
Less than 40 books about the Lao American experience have been written by the Lao in their own words. Laos is a nation the size of Great Britain, or in the US, it's comparable to Utah, or just a little larger than Minnesota. Today, there are more Lao living outside of Laos than inside it, with expatriate communities scattered across Asia, Europe, and the Americas.
Over 400,000 Laotians are resettled in the US.
There's still a long way to go for the Lao: 9 out of 10 have not successfully graduated from college, and many continue to live below the federal poverty line. But for those Lao who are engaged in the arts, there is often a strong connection to lifelong success. The timely introduction of Lao American writers to these students may play a key role in Lao American cultural development over the next 20 years if history is any indication.
Several of our award-winning writers are available to speak with different classrooms in almost every region. They can work to provide a sense of how the Lao American community came to form in the US and where the arts have played a vital role in our reconstruction.
The writers are available individually or as a group, and they'd be delighted to work with college institutions to meet their budget and specific needs.
You can also mail the Lao American Writers Society at:
Lao American Writers Society
PO Box 907
Winchester CA 91724