Our Authors

Brett Dakin

Brett is the author of Another Quiet American: Stories of Life in Laos (Asia Books), which Rough Guides calls “a must for anyone looking to understand Laos today.” Currently Brett serves as Assistant General Counsel at the Rainforest Alliance, and he is also Chair of Princeton’s East Asian Studies Advisory Council and a Term Member of the Council on Foreign Relations. Posts by Brett Dakin »

Heather Hammel

Heather Hammel was an intern at Legacies of War during the summer of 2010. She is currently studying at the Sorbonne in Paris and interning at the Fédération Internationale of ACAT, a non-governmental organization dedicated to ending torture and the death penalty. She is in the politics department at Princeton University, pursuing a certificate in French language. She was born and raised in San Francisco, California, before moving out to the East Coast for college, where she is on the senior layout team of the Daily Princetonian and a member of the lightweight crew team. She has previously worked as a research assistant to Anthropology professor Mariane Ferme at the University of California at Berkeley, focusing on international legal response to the war crimes committed in Rwanda and Sierra Leone. Posts by Heather Hammel »

Channapha Khamvongsa

Channapha Khamvongsa is executive director of Legacies of War, an organization which seeks to address the problem of unexploded cluster bombs in Laos, to provide space for healing the wounds of war and to create greater hope for a future of peace. The organization uses art, culture, education, and community organizing to bring people together and create healing and transformation out of the wreckage of war. Previously, she worked at the Ford Foundation and Public Interest Projects, focusing on immigrant and refugee rights, global civil society, civic engagement, capacity building and transformational leadership. She was previously appointed to the Seattle Women’s Commission and served on the boards of the Refugee Women’s Alliance and Conference on Asian Pacific American Leadership (CAPAL). She is currently Interim-Board Chair of the Mines Advisory Group (MAG) – USA. Channapha’s father is from Luang Prabang and her mother is from Thakhek. She was born in Vientiane and came to the U.S. at the age of seven. Ms. Khamvongsa has studied at George Mason University and Oxford University. She received her Master’s Degree in Public Policy from Georgetown University. Posts by Channapha Khamvongsa »

Pon Khamvongsa

Posts by Pon Khamvongsa »

Cynthia Nguyen, MD

Cynthia Nguyen, MD is Adjunct Clinical Associate Professor of Psychiatry at Stanford Medical School, where she consults in the Internal Medicine clinic and serves as advisor in the Human Biology program. She lectures on cross-cultural issues in medicine and contributes chapters on anxiety (including Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder) in special populations for psychiatric textbooks. Dr. Nguyen has a practice in Palo Alto, California. Posts by Cynthia Nguyen »

Lisa Nowlain

Lisa Nowlain is an artist from the Bay Area, currently residing in Laos on a Fulbright scholarship to research how art can be used to mitigate the effects of unexploded ordinance. She will be working with World Education Laos on their UXO Education and Awareness in Primary Schools program, as well as helping facilitate miscellaneous murals. Her work with Legacies of War was to help coordinate the Tapestry of Hope: Weaving Together a Bomb-Free Future project.

Posts by Lisa Nowlain »


Titus Peachey

Titus is the Director of Peace Education for Mennonite Central Committee U.S., and a participant in the Cluster Munitions Coalition which successfully advocated for an international ban on the production, stockpiling, transfer and use of cluster munitions which went into effect in 2010. Posts by Titus Peachey »

Chanida "Noy" Phaengdara

Chanida is a first generation Lao-American, currently residing in Minneapolis, MN. She is a volunteer for Legacies of War and the Lao community in the states. She is a graduate student and works in the development field as a survey researcher on issues that affect the AAPI and immigrant communities. She enjoys traveling across the world, cooking with her family, and playing with her dogs.

Posts by Chanida Phaengdara »


Elaine Russell

Elaine Russell is an author of fiction and nonfiction works. She has published four short stories and a children’s middle-grade novel, Martin McMillan and the Lost Inca City. For over four years she researched the history of Laos and Laotian immigrants in the U.S. while writing an adult novel about a Hmong immigrant family. In January 2006, she traveled to Vientiane, Xieng Khuang and Luang Prabang in Laos. Previously, Elaine worked as a consultant in energy and environmental analysis. She has a degree in history and masters in economics. Elaine started volunteering with Legacies of War in 2006 and joined the board in 2008. Posts by Elaine Russell »

Ova Saopeng

Ova Saopeng is an actor and writer from Los Angeles, he was born in Savannahket, Laos and raised in Honolulu, Hawaii. He received his B.A. in Theater from the University of Southern California and since then has worked nationally with many theater companies from the Children's Theater Company in Minneapolis on the production of "Dragonwings" based on the Newberry Award winning book by Laurence Yep, Mark Taper Forum/P.L.A.Y. production of "Wondrous Tales of Old Japan", a kabuki American adaptation of Japanese folk tales written and directed by David Furumoto, and East West Players the premiere Asian American Theater Company in the nation. He has toured colleges and universities with the Asian American Theater troupe hereandnow and is an active member of We Tell Stories and Water's Edge Theater, children's theater companies based in southern California. He is also a roster artist with TeAda Productions led by founding artistic director Leilani Chan, who is also his wife. TeAda is a company dedicated to supporting, developing and incubating artist of color to create innovative theatrical performances to empower under-served communities. Refugee Nation, a play written and performed by Leilani Chan and Ova Saopeng about the Lao-American experience, based on interviews and workshops in Lao communities throughout the U.S., is currently touring. Posts by Ova Saopeng »

Bangbay Siboliban

Bangbay Siboliban is webmaster of the Legacies of War website. She was born in Vientiane, the youngest of four children. Her family fled to the Nong Khai refugee camp when she was three months old and settled in the United States a year later. Bangbay has an MFA in Media Arts Production from City College of New York and a BA in Film Studies from Barnard College, Columbia University.

Posts by Bangbay Siboliban »