June 2012 Newsletter – Creating New Legacies

Posted: Jul 2, 2012


June Newsletter
In This Issue
Legacies’ Reception & Celebration
Creating New Legacies
US, International Funding Increase
Secretary Clinton and ASEAN
Legacies Exhibitions
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Legacies of War Reception and Celebration 
Congressional Champions – The Honorable Mike Honda and Honorable Eni Faleomavaega with Legacies of War’s Board of Directors.

On June 18th, Legacies of War held a reception in Washington, DC to celebrate its progress and ask supporters to renew their commitment to contributing to a legacy of peace in Laos. About 150 guests from the United States and other parts of the world joined in the night’s celebration. The program – which included brief remarks, a new video from the Legacies’ VCU Student Chapter, and cultural performances by the Lao Heritage Foundation – set the tone for guests to share their passion for peace and hope in Laos while enjoying traditional Lao cuisine and music.

Some memorable moments from the evening’s celebration included remarks by Senator Al Franken of Minnesota, Congressman Mike Honda of California, Congressman Eni Faleomavaega of American Samoa, and Tim Reiser on behalf of Senator Patrick Leahy of Vermont, Chair of the Senate Appropriations Sub-Committee on State and Foreign Operations. Ambassador to Laos Douglas Hartwick (2001-2004) and Ambassador to Laos Patricia Haslach (2004-2007) also joined the celebration with other Legacies of War supporters and volunteers.

If you missed our event in DC, click here to watch LifeXHipHop’s video highlighting some of the reception’s greatest moments!

Creating New Legacies
Creating New Legacies
Creating New Legacies
Legacies’ newest video, “Creating New Legacies,” was produced by Aleena Inthaly, President of Legacies of War’s student chapter at Virginia Commonwealth University. The video features voices on the ground – survivors, workers, and others who are touched by this issue on a daily basis. During production, Legacies contacted many organizations in Laos, including COPE, World Education, and Norwegian People’s Aid. We posed the following question – “What does a bomb-free Laos mean/feel like to you?” We received many heart-felt responses, all of which were included in the video. Below are two of the several photos that our partners submitted.

 

Phongsavath, 19 years old, lost both his arms and his eyesight in a cluster bomb accident when he was 13. He is now living and studying in the COPE center.
Norwegian People’s Aid

U.S. and Other Donor Countries Announce Increased Funding for UXO Removal in Laos
Lao Foreign Minister Thongloun Sisoulith Meets with U.S. Under Secretary Otero.

  

On June 7th, Under Secretary for Civilian Security, Democracy, and Human Rights Maria Otero made the official announcement confirming the State Department’s increased funding for UXO programs from $5 million in 2011 to a record $9 million in 2012. Under Secretary Otero made the announcement during a UXO Equipment Handover Ceremony, remarking, “Too much of Laos’ beautiful land still holds weapons of a conflict long-finished. The United States is committed to working with the Lao government and civil society to ensure that the unfortunate legacies of past conflicts claim no more innocent victims.” During the ceremony, the U.S. transferred much-needed equipment, including vehicles and loop detectors, to help the Lao people reduce the impact of UXO.   

 

This year, funding to the Lao UXO sector also included contributions from Norway ($20M over 5 years), Japan ($11.2M), New Zealand ($1.89M), and Australia ($1M).

Secretary Clinton to Attend Annual ASEAN Meeting 
U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton addresses the

ASEAN Business Investment Summit in Bali, Indonesia, on November 18, 2011.

United States Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has long been an advocate of strengthening U.S. relations in Asia. She has said, “Just as Asia is critical to America’s future, an engaged America is vital to Asia’s future.” From July 9th-13th, the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) will hold the 45th annual Foreign Ministers meeting in Cambodia, and Secretary Clinton has confirmed her attendance. 

  

Over the last few months, Legacies has been encouraging Secretary Clinton to stop over in Laos on her way to Cambodia, and to make a statement about the U.S. commitment to clearing Laos of UXO while there. Secretary Clinton recently broke records for the most-traveled Secretary of State in U.S. history, and has visited every Southeast Asian country except for Laos and Brunei. A visit to Laos would reaffirm U.S. interest in development and stability in the Lower Mekong region, not to mention rounding out the Secretary’s travel record in Southeast Asia!

   

Mini-Exhibitions in Los Angeles and Portland

Legacies’ National Traveling Exhibition recently made two successful appearances on the West Coast. From June 13th through 15th, pieces from our exhibition were on display in Portland, Oregon at the Grantmakers Concerned with Immigrants and Refugees (GCIR) 2012 national conference. GCIR’s mission is to address the needs of the United States’ growing and increasingly diverse immigrant and refugee communities. In 2004, Laos was among the top 10 refugee-sending countries to the United States, and the 2010 Census identified over 230,000 people of Laotian descent living in the U.S.

Legacies’ exhibition was also featured during Refugee Nation’s performances throughout the month of June in Los Angeles (pictured above). Click here to view more pictures from this exhibit!

 

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