Overview

WHO WE ARE

(Congressmen Mike Honda and Eni Faleomavaega with board members at our annual reception in Washington DC.)

(Congressmen Mike Honda and Eni Faleomavaega with board members at our annual reception in Washington DC.)

Legacies of War is the leading U.S.-based educational and advocacy organization working to address the impact of conflict in Laos during the Vietnam War-era, including removal of unexploded ordnance (UXO). We raise awareness about the history of the Vietnam War-era bombing of Laos, provide space for healing the wounds of war, and create greater hope for a future of peace. We are not a direct service or aid organization, nor do we have local offices in Laos. From Washington, D.C., we engage and establish relationships with governments, civil society and individuals, especially from the Lao diaspora, to raise awareness and increase financial support for clearance of UXO in Laos. We work directly with key decision-makers in the U.S. government – including Congress and the Administration – and with the private sector and media outlets to provide these influential groups with compelling information and analysis. We serve as a convenor and organizer of partner organizations and individuals seeking to resolve the UXO problem in Laos.

Our work has led to tenfold increase of U.S. funding for UXO clearance and victim assistance in Laos, from $3M in 2008 to $30M in 2017. In bringing greater attention and increasing resources, we’ve helped to make a real impact on the ground in Laos: more land being cleared, lives being saved and additional care and services available for the approximately 12,000 UXO victims living in Laos.

WHAT IS THE UXO PROBLEM IN LAOS?

During the Vietnam War-era, more than two million tons of unexploded ordnance were dropped on Laos. An estimated 30 percent of the ordnance did not explode on impact, leaving at least one third of the land across all 17 provinces contaminated by these deadly tennis ball-sized weapons. The Lao Government and United Nations Development Program (UNDP), have determined that UXO contaminates 41 out of the 46 poorest districts in Laos and remains an obstacle for carrying out its national development plans. The threat of deadly unexploded ordnance limits Laotian people’s ability to cultivate enough land for food and to maintain secure livelihoods, exacerbating the nation’s extreme poverty.

WHY IT MATTERS TODAY

The UXO problem in Laos has persisted for far too long. Too many innocent lives have been lost. Too many farmers and children have been left disabled, their lives forever changed. But it is not too late to stop this senseless suffering. We’ve already proven positive change is possible.

KEY ACHIEVEMENTS

Legacies of War Has Helped to Quadruple the Amount of U.S. Funding to Laos

Legacies of War has helped to increase the amount of U.S. funding for Laos tenfold. Funding is essential to financing programs on-the- ground that clear bombs, support victims and educate a new generation about the dangers of UXO. The increase has led to more land being available for cultivation and economic development, and casualty rates have dropped from more than 300 to less than 50 per year.

Legacies of War has shifted the dialogue on solving the UXO problem from “impossible” to “possible”: Legacies has helped to create political space for prioritizing the UXO issue as essential to addressing Laos’ development goals.

Legacies of War has educated thousands of people around the U.S. and put this issue on the radar of policymakers: We organized hundreds of awareness- raising programs throughout the U.S. about UXO in Laos and mobilized people to take action.

WHAT IS LEGACIES’ ANNUAL BUDGET?

Our current budget is $250K.  With this basic budget we have helped increase U.S. funding for the UXO sector in Laos to $30M in FY17. Nearly 100% of these government funds goes to direct service organizations working in Laos, such as MAG, HALO Trust, World Education, COPE and Handicap International. Legacies of War depends on private donations. Key donors are: Individuals, Open Society Foundation, and the Samuel Rubin Foundation.

WHY YOU SHOULD SUPPORT LEGACIES OF WAR

MAKE SURE WE HAVE A VOICE in Washington, D.C., calling for long-term, sustained increase in U.S. funding for UXO activities in Laos. According to the State Department, between 1993-2014, U.S. funding totaled $84M. U.S. contributions increased to $15M and $19.5M in 2015 and 2016 respectively, yielding a grand total of $118M over the 24 year period. Of this total, $64.7M, or well over 50% came in the past 5 years, a direct result of Legacies of War’s sustained advocacy.

PROVIDE ONGOING DIALOGUE between stake-holders to foster collaboration and mutual support in solving this pressing humanitarian problem.

Secretary of State Clinton meets with Phongsavath Souliyalat, an UXO survivor, during her visit to Laos. (Photo Credit: AP)

Secretary of State Clinton meets with Phongsavath Souliyalat, an UXO survivor, during her visit to Laos. (Photo Credit: AP)

“I hope others in the international community will join us in our efforts to bring this legacy of the Vietnam War era to a safe end and give the people, particularly the children of this nation the opportunity to live their lives safe from these unexploded bombs.”

Hillary Rodham Clinton, Former U.S. Secretary of State (2012)

INCREDIBLE RETURN ON YOUR INVESTMENT

In 2011 the U.S. contributed $5M to the UXO sector in Laos. From 2012 through 2016, our advocacy efforts led to a 5-year total of $64.7M in U.S. funding, or an average of nearly $13M/yr. Had U.S. funding levels remained at the 2011 level, U.S. contributions would have totaled only $25M during the same time period. Thus with an average annual budget of $150K, Legacies has spent roughly $750K, and helped to increase U.S. funding by $39.7M. In othe words, for every $1 investment in Legacies, we have been able to increase U.S. funding by $52.

“Your support of Legacies will be one of the best investments you can make to ensure sustained U.S. attention and priority is given to resolving the UXO problem in Laos.”

Ambassador Douglas Hartwick (ret.), Laos 2001- 2004

BUILDING SUSTAINED LEADERSHIP

“Legacies of War has been a tremendous advocate for the people of Laos and a great partner for me in Congress.”

Representative Betty McCollum (D-MN)

INSPIRING A NEW GENERATION

Through volunteer internships, workshops, school and community events, we’ve expanded knowledge about this tragic legacy.

INVEST IN LEGACIES OF WAR & RECEIVE:

Regular updates on Legacies of War’s programs and results via our monthly e- newsletter.

Invitations to events featuring advocates, survivors, diplomats and policymakers.

Tax-deductions on your gifts; Legacies is fiscally sponsored by NEO Philanthropy, a 501(c)3 nonprofit in the U.S.

FOR MORE INFORMATION

Channapha Khamvongsa, Executive Director
channapha@legaciesofwar.org
(703) 868-0030
WWW.LEGACIESOFWAR.ORG

Speaker & Film Screening in Boston Area

“The Bombing of Laos and the Continuing Tragedy of Cluster Bombs”

Forbush Memorial Library Westminster, MA January 20, 2010, 6-8PM

Walt Haney, Forbush Library Trustee and longtime resident of Westminster, will give a talk on “The Bombing of Laos and the Continuing Tragedy of Cluster Bombs.”

Haney spent more than three years in Laos, 1968-71 and 1975. In 1970 and 1971, he carried out two surveys of Lao refugees that helped document the widespread bombing of civilians in Laos. Reports on these surveys were both published in reports by the U.S. Senate.

Haney is also author of an analysis of U.S. involvement in Laos from 1950 to 1970. This analysis was published in Chomsky, N. and H. Zinn (Eds.) The Gravel Edition, The Pentagon Papers, Vol. V: Critical Essays (Boston: Beacon Press, 1972, pp. 248-293). Finally, Haney will describe his involvement with Legacies of War (http://legaciesofwar.org), a group organized to bring attention to the continuing tragedy of cluster bombs, not just in Laos but also in other war-torn countries around the world.

Following Haney’s remarks, there will be a showing of the award-winning film “Bombies” and a discussion. Light refreshments will be served. The lecture and film-showing are open to the public at no charge, but seating is limited.

National Traveling Exhibition Midwest Premiere in Minneapolis

Lao Assistance Center, Pangea World Theater and Intermedia Arts present

Legacies of War: National Traveling Exhibition and Community Programs

Curated by local artist Malichansouk Kouanchao, Bush Artist Fellow

Presented in conjunction with the Refugee Nation Touring Performance.

The Legacies of War National Traveling Exhibition tells the story of the U.S. secret bombing in Laos- a forgotten chapter in U.S. history – through the voices of villagers from Laos and the Lao diaspora at large.

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Opening Night Reception – September 30, 2010

In the 1960s and 1970s, when due to the bombing, Lao civilians became refugees of “The Secret War,” and had no language or tools to communicate with the outside world about their experiences except through a series of crude, hand-drawn sketches shown to visiting foreigners. But this art was enough to provoke questions that ultimately led to a global awareness of what was happening during the CIA’s covert war in Laos, and these sketches contributed to shaping the destiny of over 400,000 Laotians and Hmong in the United States today.

The National Traveling Exhibition has traveled to ten U.S. cities and to Dublin, Ireland. Its Midwest debut will take place at Intermedia Arts on September 30, 2010 (Special Opening Reception at 6:30pm) and run through October 24 with film screenings, community workshops and discussions throughout the month.

Artwork: Malichansouk Kouanchao

Legacies of War is presented in conjunction with the Refugee Nation National Traveling Performance, a collection of oral histories that reveals connections between American and Southeast Asian history, and the unique challenges faced by political refugees and their American children. It gives voice to the Lao Diaspora – often excluded from the American experience. Refugee Nation is about a young generation struggling to understand their history and the silence of an elder generation still healing from the traumas of war.

This project is made possible in part by support from Arts Midwest, the Metropolitan Regional Arts Council, the Minnesota State Arts Board, and the Asian Pacific Endowment. Refugee Nation is a part of Intermedia Arts’ Catalyst Series.

Intermedia Arts is located at 2822 Lyndale Avenue South, Minneapolis, MN 55408 (map)


Events

» Exhibition

National Traveling Exhibition
September 30, 2010 – October 24, 2010
Daily 12pm-5pm
$3 suggested donation

Opening Reception
September 30, 2010 @ 6:30pm-8:30pm – FREE
Reception will include a blessing ceremony, guest speakers and community gathering.

» Performances

Refugee Nation
October 8-10, Friday – Sunday @ 7:30pm
October 14-17, Thursday – Sunday @ 7:30pm
*Post performance discussions October 9, 15 & 16
Tickets: $10 (advance, students, seniors); $12 (door)
Click here to purchase tickets.

» Workshops & Discussions

Community Art Workshop – Express Yourself
October 2, 2010 @ 1pm-4pm – FREE
Student Day
Two-part workshop: In Tapestry of Hope: Weaving a Bomb Free Future, participants will create art pieces to include in an international art exhibition to debut in Vientiane, Laos in November. In the Refugee Nation workshop, participants will engage in discussions and exercises about identity and community.

Community Discussion – Gen X, Gen Y and Gen G (as in RefuGee)
October 13, 2010 @ 12:30pm – FREE
Bring your lunch for this roundtable intergenerational discussion following the Refugee Nation matinee.

» Film Screenings

Bomb Harvest
October 12, 2010 @ 7pm
$5 suggested donation
Laos: The most bombed country, per capita, on the planet. A bomb disposal specialist has to train a new young “big bomb” team to deal with bombs left from the US “Secret War”, but meanwhile, the local children are out hunting for bomb scrap metal. Post screening discussion with the Mines Advisory Group (MAG) and community members.

Bombies
October 19, 2010 @ 7pm
$5 suggested donation
Award-winning film portrays the aftermath of the carpet bombing of Laos with made-in-Minnesota cluster bombs and includes local footage of demonstrations at Honeywell and Alliant Techsystems (ATK).
Special guest speaker Marv Davidov, featured in the film as the founder of the MN-based Honeywell Project to end weapons manufacturing during the Vietnam War.

All events held at:
Intermedia Arts
2822 Lyndale Avenue South
Minneapolis, MN 55408 (map)

For more information, visit www.intermediaarts.org or call (612) 871-4444.


Media Contact

Theresa Sweetland
Executive/Artistic Director, Intermedia Arts
(612) 874-2813
theresa@intermediaarts.org

Photo/Interview Opportunities

Digital photos, audio, video, interview and photo opportunities are available upon request.


About the Presenters

  • Lao Assistance Center of Minnesota

    Minnesota has the third largest Laotian community in the US with 25,000 residents, many living in Hennepin County and particularly North Minneapolis. Many first arrived in the US as refugees in the early 1980s to rebuild to their lives. Many Lao in Minnesota received international recognition and awards for their art and community activism, and recently convened the first national Lao American Writers Summit. The Lao Assistance Center was established in 1983 with a mission to help Lao families meet their basic needs and to preserve their culture and traditions.

  • Pangea World Theater

    Pangea World Theater begins from the fundamental paradigm of diversity in the world. Our work expresses this reality and our organization advances this possibility consciously. Since its inception in 1995, Pangea’s goals have included creating a new literature with stories from different communities for theater, changing our methods of auditioning in order to include artists from diverse communities who are not trained in the traditional western methods of the audition process, and creating new possibilities and new aesthetic realities for a more diverse audience. As the community of the Twin Cities has become increasingly diverse with the influx of new immigrants, Pangea has actively sought individuals from these communities to be part of our artistic and advisory team.

  • Intermedia Arts

    As Minnesota’s premier multidisciplinary, multicultural arts center, Intermedia Arts builds understanding among people by catalyzing and inspiring artists and audiences to make changes in their lives and communities. We are a nationally recognized leader in empowering artists and community leaders to use arts-based approaches to solve community issues. From graffiti art to digital technology to performance art to spoken word, we work from the community up to unearth and enliven new and emerging artists and art forms while challenging and exploring the role of art in our lives. By stimulating civic dialogue and giving voice to the issues and experiences of underrepresented communities locally, nationally and internationally, we contribute to a stronger, healthier society.

  • The Catalyst Series

    Intermedia Arts’ Catalyst Series is a new program dedicated to collaborating with and providing support for artists, arts groups and organizations working as catalysts for change in their communities. The Catalyst Series is designed to engage audiences by provoking new performing, visual, literary, multimedia and film presentations that spark dialogue and inspire social change. Our goal is to provide artists, arts groups and arts organizations with the resources necessary to focus on their creative process, connect with their communities, advance their career, market their work, and develop new audiences.

First Meeting of States Parties to the Convention on Cluster Munitions (1MSP)

Legacies of War is attending the First Meeting of States Parties to the Convention on Cluster Munitions (1MSP) in Vientiane, Lao PDR. Leading up to the meeting, we will be traveling around Laos and attending other events. We will be documenting our entire trip and experiences with a microsite: Legacies of War @ 1MSP. Check it for daily updates.

For more information on this historic meeting, visit http://www.clusterconvention.org/1msp/.

Legacies of War Exhibit in Brooklyn Center, MN

Check out the Legacies of War Exhibit at the Brookdale Library in Brooklyn Center, MN. The exhibit will be there until June 1st.

Association of Asian American Studies Conference, New Orleans

Legacies of War will present Undigested War: Purging Official Narratives of U.S. Wars in Asia with Still Present Past at the Association of Asian American Studies Conference in New Orleans, May 18-21. Click here for more information on the conference.