Skip to Main Content

Past Events


September 22, 2016 - Poetry Reading by Monica Sok and Chath pierSath

Monica Sok is a Cambodian American poet from Lancaster, Pennsylvania. She is the author of the chapbook Year Zero, winner of the Poetry Society of America 2015 Chapbook Fellowship, selected by Marilyn Chin. A Kundiman fellow, Sok has received scholarships from Barbara Deming Memorial Fund, Inc., Bread Loaf Writers' Conference, Hedgebrook, MacDowell Colony, and the Elizabeth George Foundation. Her poems appear in Narrative, The New Republic, Ninth Letter, The Offing, and TriQuarterly Review, among others. She is the 2016-2018 Stadler Fellow at Bucknell University.

Chath pierSath is a Cambodian American poet, painter and humanitarian. He creates both large and small portraits of people from memory, often representing the social and economic disparity among Cambodians. He has an undergraduate degree in international service and development and master’s degree in Community Social Psychology from UMass Lowell. Much of his poetry deals with his macabre memories of the Khmer Rouge atrocities and the massacres of the Killing Fields. His poem "A Letter to My Mother" appears in Children of Cambodia's Killing Fields: Memoirs of Survivors, compiled by Dith Pran and edited by Kim DePaul. His recent works include After, a book of poetry published by Abingdon Square Publishing in 2009 and a children's book, Sinat and the Instrument of the Heart, published by Soundprints. He returned to Cambodia in 1994 for the first time after ten years of separation from family members and his homeland to do humanitarian work as a volunteer of the Cambodian American National Development Organization (CANDO). He also helped an array of local NGOs working on HIV/AIDS Prevention education and child rights issues. He currently spends six months of the year working and living on a farm in his adopted country, the United States, and six months in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, as a painter and writer.

April 8, 2016 – Asian American Cultures Festival – Looking Back to the Future with Angkor Dance Troupe and Flying Orb Productions

Angkor Dance Troupe, Flying Orb Productions, UMass Lowell World music Ensemble, and the Center for Asian American Studies at the 2016 Asian American Cultures Festival.

Performances Included:

  • Angkor Dance Troupe (with UMass Lowell World Music Ensemble)
    • White Dove dance
    • Good Crop dance
    • Neang Seada and the Test of Fire (Scene from Reamker)
  • Flying Orb Productions
    • Memory Box
    • New scenes from Kingdom of Kambuja

This event was sponsored by the the Nancy Donahue Endowed Professor in the Arts, UMass Lowell Department of Music, and the Center for Asian American Studies. For further information, contact

February 11, 2016 – “1975” Panel with Anida Yoeu Ali, LinDa Saphan, & Amy Lee Sanford

The UMass Lowell Department of Art & Design, the Center for Asian American Studies, and the Nancy Donahue Endowed Professorship in the Arts presented “1975,” an exhibited curated by Chương-Đài Võ and featuring the work of Anida Yoeu Ali, Amy Lee Sanford, and LinDa Saphan. The exhibition was on view in the University Gallery (1st floor Mahoney Hall, 61 Wilder Street, Lowell, Mass.) from Jan. 19 – Feb. 27, 2016.

There was also a panel discussion with the artists.

1975 featured commissioned work by three transnational Cambodian artists who engage with war, memory, displacement and globalization. Anida Yoeu Ali’s silk screen prints and video installation recall life in a refugee camp following the fall of the Khmer Rouge. Amy Lee Sanford’s video and photographs share with viewers the process of uncovering the turmoil of the late 1960's and 1970's, as told in letters written by a father she never knew. LinDa Saphan’s drawings of apartment buildings and architectural monuments in current-day Phnom Penh hint at the costs of urban development and global capitalism.

For further information, please visit the University Gallery's website or contact or


October 15, 2015- A Conversation with Le Lay Hayslip

Le Ly Hayslip is an internationally known Vietnamese American author, philanthropist, peace activist, and speaker. She is the author of "When Heaven and Earth Changed Places: A Vietnamese Woman's Journey from War to Peace" and its sequel, "Child of War, Woman of Peace"; her books were the basis for Oliver Stone's 1993 film "Heaven & Earth." She also founded the East Meets West Foundation and the Global Village Foundation, nonprofit groups that seek to improve the health and welfare of people in Vietnam and other countries in Southeast and South Asia.

The event featured a presentation by Ms. Hayslip about her own experiences and that of other Southeast Asian refugees, the contemporary living conditions of many people in Vietnam and other parts of Southeast Asia, and the work of her charitable organizations. Afterwards, she engaged in a conversation with students and other audience members. The UMass Lowell bookstore had copies of her books for sale for a book signing following her presentation.

It was held in Moloney Hall at University Crossing, University of Massachusetts Lowell, in Lowell, Mass.

June 27-28, 2015 - Korean Studies Workshop

In collaboration with the Korea Foundation, UMass Lowell offered a two-day workshop for K-12 teachers on the politics, history, economics, and culture of Korea. Strategies to create lesson plans on Korea as part of Language Arts, Social Studies, ESL and Multicultural Education were discussed. A group of university professors from UMass, Harvard, Tufts, and Illinois State Universities and a Newbery Award Winning Author, Linda Sue Park, provided lectures. There was a variety of cultural activities along with the lectures. Please see the Korea Studies Workshop brochure. The event was held at the Conference Center at Waltham Woods, Waltham, Mass.

May 21, 2015 - Asian American & Pacific Islander Mental Health Forum

The Asian American & Pacific Islander (AAPI) Mental Health Forum is organized by a coalition of health care providers, advocates, and researchers to address the often overlooked and stigmatized issue of mental health in the AAPI community. The 2015 theme was “Communicating Our Stories: Healing Across Generations.”This event sought to improve participants’ ability to assist members of the AAPI community and their families by increasing their ability to work across generations and understand how multimedia arts can be an influential part of recovery and resiliency.Please read the 2015 AAPI Mental Health Forum Flyer (pdf) for further information.

March 30 - April 3, 2015 - “Forty Years Later: Where Are We Now?”

April 2015 marked 40 years since the wars in Southeast Asia, which involved Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos, and the U.S. A series of spring events at UMass Lowell served as a remembrance of these conflicts as well as a celebration of the resilience and successes of Southeast Asian Americans.

April 2, 2015 – 2015 Asian American Cultures Festival: “The Kingdom of Kambuja”

The world premiere of Flying Orb Productions “The Kingdom of Kambuja,” in which a Cambodian refugee mother communicates difficult stories of her past to her daughter using the magic of fairy tales. Also featured performance by Angkor Dance troupe, the UMass Lowell World Music Ensemble, and a 1960s Cambodian pop music tribute band. For more information, visit the Flying Orb Productions website or Co-sponsored with the Music Department, College of Fine Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences, the Center for Arts and Ideas, and the Office of Community Relations.

March 3, 2015 –The Refugees of Shangri-La: The Untold Story of the Bhutanese Refugees

After being torn from their homes and surviving twenty long years in refugee camps, the Kingdom of Bhutan’s forgotten exiles abandon hopes of returning home and seek a future in a far off place called America. Pre-film informational display on Bhutanese refugees and post-film panel discussion with filmmakers, Suraj Budathoki (Executive Director of the International Campaign for Human Rights in Bhutan), and UMass Lowell Prof. Ramraj Gautam.


Oct. 16, 2014 - Gish Jen - As part of the Jack Kerouac Literary Festival, acclaimed Chinese American author Gish Jen read from her latest novel, "World and Town" (winner of the 2011 Massachusetts Book Prize in fiction). Jen is also the author of "The Love Wife," "Mona in the Promised Land," and "Typical American;" the short story collection "Who’s Irish;" and "Tiger Writing," a collection of essays based on her Massey lectures in the History of American Civilization at Harvard University.

October 2-3, 2014- The Southeast Asian American Studies Conference took place at the University of Minnesota. The theme for the conference was “The States of Southeast Asian American Studies.” UMass Lowell CAAS faculty presented in two sessions, including the closing plenary, an interactive session on Southeast Asian Americans in New England.

landing-skull Sept. 24, 2014 - "Year Zero" UMass Lowell Night at MRT

During its production of "Year Zero," a play about Cambodian American youth, the Merrimack Repertory Theatre hosted a UMass Lowell Night for students, staff, and faculty. The event included a pre-show reception and a post-show discussion with the cast and crew. Co-sponsored by the UMass Lowell Center for Asian American Studies, English Department and Theatre Arts program.

May 3, 2014 - Cambodian Workers Speak Out

Labor leaders from Cambodia visited the Lowell Elder Care Center to talk about organizing for garment workers’ rights in the face of poverty wages, dangerous working conditions, and brutal repression. Cosponsored with Family Unity Network, the Cambodian Mutual Assistance Association (CMAA), and Massachusetts Jobs with Justice.

April 24, 2014 - Screening of "Cambodian Son"

CAAS co-sponsored the Lowell screening of "Cambodian Son," a documentary about poet Kosal Khiev and the deportation of Cambodian Americans. The screening and discussion of immigration and deportation issues took place at Pailin City Restaurant (6 Branch Street, Lowell, MA). Co-sponsors included UMass Lowell Department of Sociology, Family Unity Network, CMAA, Massachusetts Jobs with Justice, Alliance for Secular and Democratic South Asia, Asian American Resource Workshop, and United Teen Equality Center. Learn more about the film on the Cambodian Son website.

events-danceApril 3, 2014 - Celebrate Cambodian Arts

An all-day festival honoring Cambodian arts and culture. The day included a poetry reading by Cambodian poet Tararith Kho (UMass Lowell Cultural Studies); a workshop on post-traumatic stress in refugee cultures, led by CAAS professors Khanh Dinh and Ivy Ho (Psychology); an exhibit of ceramics and sculpture by Master Ceramicist Yary Livan; and a performance by Angkor Dance Troupe and Flying Orb, with specialist guests UMass Lowell World Music Ensemble. Angkor Dance Troupe premiered “Apsara Dancing Stones.” Cosponsored with Angkor Dance Troupe; Flying Orb Productions; UML Departments of Music, Cultural Studies, and English; Center for Arts and Ideas; and Cambodian American Student Association. Read about the event in this article from the Lowell Sun.

events-protestMarch 4, 2014 - “We Will Not be Moved: Southeast Asian American Interventions on the Comprehensive Immigration Reform Debates” a lecture by UMass Boston Professor Loan Dao

Prof. Loan Dao is Assistant Professor of Asian American Studies at UMass Boston. She spoke on Southeast Asian American youth activism and their contributions to recent debates on immigration. Cosponsored with the Work, Labor, and Society Program.

Oct. 3, 2013 - “Life Behind the Lobby: Indian American Motel Owners and the American Dream,” a lecture by Tufts Prof. Pawan Dhingra

Prof. Pawan Dhingra, Chair of the Department of Sociology at Tufts University, discussed his latest book, Life Behind the Lobby: Indian American Motel Owners and the American Dream. Professor Dhingra specializes in studies of the Asian American and Indian American communities, cultural identity, and entrepreneurship. Life Behind the Lobby: Indian American Motel Owners and the American Dream explores the accomplishment and marginalization of the Indian Americans who own about half of the motels in the U.S., and most hail from the same region in India.