Channapha Khamvongsa, Executive Director
is founder and executive director of Legacies of War
, an organization that seeks to address the problem of unexploded ordnance 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, especially among the Lao diaspora, to create healing and transformation out of the wreckage of war. Legacies has successfully advocated for an increase in U.S. funding for bomb clearance in Laos, from an annual average of $2M in 2008 to $30M in 2016. In September 2016, President Barack Obama acknowledged Channapha’s advocacy efforts in Laos, where he became the first U.S. President to visit the country. Channapha has written and spoken widely about the secret war in Laos and its aftermath and has appeared in the New York Times
, Democracy Now!
News. She previously worked at the Ford Foundation and NEO Philanthropy on immigrant rights, civil society, civic engagement, capacity building, and transformational leadership. She has served on the Seattle Women’s Commission, as well as on the boards of the Refugee Women’s Alliance and the Conference on Asian Pacific American Leadership (CAPAL). She was born in Vientiane, Laos and came to the U.S. as a refugee at the age of seven. Channapha received her Bachelor's of Science Degree in Public Administration from George Mason University. She received her Master's Degree in Public Policy from Georgetown University.
Arina Chithavong-Lester, Director of Operations & Development
Arina Chithavong-Lester previously worked at the Fair Labor Association and as a consultant at the UN agency for International Labor focusing on a variety of human rights issues, including migrant workers, child labor and corporate social responsibility. Prior to her work in Washington, D.C., Arina worked as a fellow for the German development agency GIZ in Thailand where she supported the Royal Project Foundation in providing capacity building training to indigenous hill tribe groups in Thai and Lao highlands. As a fellow, she worked on various projects, promoting alternative livelihood skills against opium production and indigenous knowledge in the ASEAN region. Arina was born and raised in Germany. Her parents were refugees who came to Germany in 1979. Arina received her Bachelor of Arts with two majors in History and Social Anthropology from Heidelberg University, Germany and her Master of Arts degree in Sustainable International Development from Brandeis University.
Inigo Acosta, Intern
Inigo (Ino) Acosta is a junior in the George Washington University majoring in International Affairs with minors in Spanish and Socio-Cultural Anthropology. Growing up in Thailand and the Philippines, he is fluent in Thai and Tagalog and has always had a strong interest in Southeast Asian cultures. He has previously interned at the Center for ASEAN Studies at Chiang Mai University and at the Democratic Party of Hong Kong. In GWU he has been the Cultural Affairs Coordinator for the Philippine Cultural Society and is an active member of the GWU Men's Volleyball Team and GWU International Affairs Society.
Bridget Johnson, Intern
Bridget Johnson is a senior at the University of Wisconsin-Madison majoring in Political Science and Southeast Asian Studies. Her interest in Southeast Asia arose after spending a year in Indonesia as a Rotary Exchange Student, and has further grown from studying the region in its historical, political, and linguistic angles throughout her college years. She hopes to translate her regional knowledge and passion for human rights into a career in the public or non-profit sector. She is a past recipient of the Foreign Language and Area Studies Fellowship and is an alumna of the U.S. Department of State Critical Language Scholarship program.
Bram Maier, Intern
Bram Maier is a current senior at the University of California at Santa Cruz, where he is double majoring in Politics and History. He has previously worked with the California Public Utilities Commission, where he researched utility rate cases and rate trends. Following undergraduate and graduate school, Bram intends to pursue a career with a non-government organization or the public sector conducting research and bring attention to to human rights violations in past and present zones of conflict. He was able to intern with Legacies of War through the University of California Washington Center (UCDC).
Victoria Liu, Graphic Consultant
Victoria Liu is a current junior at Princeton University, studying International Law and Institutions within the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs, where she is fascinated by macro-level examinations of the movements of institutions, nations, and individuals. She is the current Director of Marketing at Princeton's Advertise This, Princeton's only marketing and advertising club, seeking to explore the abstract construction of image and its effect on audience reception and interest. Her internship at Legacies of War is made possible through the partnership with the Princeton Internships in Civic Service (PICS) and the Princeton Class of 1977.
Pro Bono Consultants
Bangbay Siboliban, Web Architect
Kathryn Moore, Program Consultant
Katie Moore is a pro-bono consultant for Legacies of War supporting strategic planning, communications, funding/development work, and programming efforts. Moore’s professional background is in international educational development, peacebuilding and humanitarian assistance. Most recently, Moore served as an Education in Emergencies Specialist for UNICEF’s New York Headquarters. Moore has worked in a mine-risk education (MRE) programming capacity with Catholic Relief Services in Lao PDR and has published research on combining early childhood education (ECE) and MRE programming as a strategy for minimizing childhood fatality from explosive remnants of war. She completed her graduate studies at Teachers College, Columbia University. A combination of Moore’s research/evaluation experience; technical ECE, MRE, education and peacebuilding knowledge; and development/humanitarian assistance program management efforts from the grassroots to multinational levels make Moore an asset to Legacies’ team.