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Illustration: Southeast Asian Americans have common experiences but, as these three people show, have much diversity among themselves.

Featured Speakers

We will have a wide section of featured speakers and poets on a variety of topics. To learn more please select the tabs below sorted by genre and topic.

Bridging Policy & Research

Katrina Dizon Mariateague currently serves as the Immigration Policy Manager for the Southeast Asia Resource Action Center (SEARAC).

Featured Speakers

Thursday, July 27, 8:45 - 10:30 a.m. in O'Leary 222 (61 Wilder Street, Lowell, MA)

Katrina Dizon Mariategue currently serves as the Immigration Policy Manager for the Southeast Asia Resource Action Center (SEARAC). In this capacity, she works with community-based organizations and national advocates to uplift the narratives of family and community members directly impacted by mass incarceration, deportation, and criminalization, to congressional leaders and key administrative agencies in Washington, D.C. Previously, Dizon Mariateague worked for six years at the American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations (AFL-CIO) — the largest federation of labor unions in the country. In 2011, she was elected to serve as D.C. chapter president of the Asian Pacific American Labor Alliance (APALA), the only national Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) union membership organization. In this capacity, she led the chapter’s local advocacy campaigns and organizing work around immigrant workers’ rights, coordinated civic engagement programs for the 2012 elections, and strengthened local networks through extensive coalition building efforts. She also served on APALA’s National Executive Board and co-chaired the organization’s Young Leaders Council.

Channapha Khamvongsa 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.

Channapha Khamvongsa 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 of War 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 Khamvongsa’s advocacy efforts in Laos, where he became the first U.S. President to visit the country. Khamvongsa has written and spoken widely about the secret war in Laos and its aftermath and has appeared in the New York Times, Democracy Now!, CNN, ABC, PBS and CBS 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).

Khanh Dinh

Khanh T. Dinh, Ph.D., Professor of Psychology, University of Massachusetts Lowell. Dinh’s primary areas of academic interests are in clinical and community psychology. She is particularly interested in the effects of cultural changes and stress on the adaptation of immigrant individuals and families, including both health and mental health outcomes. Her research work has been published in various academic journals, such as American Journal of Community Psychology, Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology, Journal of Family Psychology, Journal of Immigrant and Refugee Studies, and Journal of Social and Personal Relationships. She is recipient of the NIH Health Disparities Service Award and NIMH National Research Service Award. She has served as consultant for the National Institute of Mental Health and Health Resources and Services Administration, and currently a member of the Editorial Board of the Asian American Journal of Psychology.

Southeast Asians In New England

Hai B. Pho, Ph.D., is Professor Emeritus of Political Science, University of Massachusetts Lowell. Pho specializes in Southeast Asian politics, Vietnamese history and civilization, international relations, US foreign policy and refugee policy.

Featured Speaker

Friday, July 28, 10:45 a.m.-12:30 p.m. in O'Leary 222 (61 Wilder Street, Lowell, MA)

Hai B. Pho, Ph.D., is Professor Emeritus of Political Science, University of Massachusetts Lowell. Pho specializes in Southeast Asian politics, Vietnamese history and civilization, international relations, US foreign policy and refugee policy. He is a founding Board Member and Program Coordinator for the Indochinese Refugee Foundation, which played a central role in resettling refugees in Lowell. He has served on the Massachusetts Governor’s Advisory Council on Refugees (for former Governor Dukakis) and on Diversity and Pluralism Taskforce for the University of Massachusetts President’s Office. His publications include “The Politics of Refugee Resettlement in Massachusetts” (1991) and “Lowell, Politics, and the Resettlement of Southeast Asian Refugees and Immigrants” (2007).

Cathy J. Schlund-Vials, Ph.D., is Professor of English and Director of the Asian and Asian American Studies Institute at the University of Connecticut.

Cathy J. Schlund-Vials, Ph.D., is Professor of English and Director of the Asian and Asian American Studies Institute at the University of Connecticut. Her work is rooted in her personal history marked by immigration, migration, and diaspora, as a Cambodian American scholar. Her book, "War, Genocide, and Justice: Cambodian American Memory Work" (University of Minnesota Press, 2012) explores the remembrance work of 1.5-generation Cambodian American cultural producers through film, memoir, and music whose background lies in the narrative of war, genocide, and denied justice in Cambodia. Her numerous publications include “From the Mekong to the Merrimack and Back: The Transnational Terrains of Cambodian American Rap” (2016); “Re-Seeing Cambodia and Recollecting The ’Nam: A Vertiginous Critique of the Military Sublime” (2016); and ““Evincing Cambodia’s Genocide: Juridical Belatedness, Historical Indictment, and Rithy Panh’s The Missing Picture” (2016). She currently serves as the President of the national Association for Asian American Studies.

Eric Tang, Ph.D., is Assistant Professor in the African and African Diaspora Studies Department and faculty member in the Center for Asian American Studies at the University Texas at Austin. Photo by Kevin Nguyen

Eric Tang, Ph.D., is Assistant Professor in the African and African Diaspora Studies Department and faculty member in the Center for Asian American Studies at the University Texas at Austin. His first book, entitled "Unsettled: Cambodian Refugees in the NYC Hyperghetto" (2015), is an ethnographic account of refugee life in some of New York City’s most impoverished and socially marginalized neighborhoods. A former community organizer, Tang has published several articles on race and urban social movements, including award-winning writing on post-Katrina New Orleans.

Richard T. Chu, Ph.D., is Five-College Associate Professor of History at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. He is the author of Chinese and Chinese Mestizos of Manila: Family, Identity, and Culture 1860s–1930s (2010; 2012) and Chinese Merchants of Binondo during the Late Nineteenth Century (2010).

Richard T. Chu, Ph.D., is Five-College Associate Professor of History at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. He is the author of "Chinese and Chinese Mestizos of Manila: Family, Identity, and Culture 1860s–1930s" (2010; 2012) and "Chinese Merchants of Binondo during the Late Nineteenth Century" (2010). Apart from his work on the Chinese diaspora in the Philippines, he has also published a demographic study of the Filipinos/Filipino Americans in Boston/Massachusetts. In Spring 2017, he taught a course on Asian/Pacific/American history with a civic engagement component, and is currently part of a team of UMass Amherst professors writing up a sociological report on the Bhutanese, Filipino, and Vietnamese communities in Springfield and Western Massachusetts. He teaches courses on the Chinese diaspora, Philippines, U.S. empire in the Pacific, and Asian/Pacific/America.

Phitsamay Uy

Phitsamay Sychitkokhong Uy, Ph.D., is Assistant Professor in the Graduate School of Education at the University of Massachusetts-Lowell. Her research focuses on immigrant students, particularly Southeast Asian educational experiences and parent/community engagement. She is a Core Faculty for the Center for Asian American Studies at UMass Lowell, where she will start her tenure as Co-Director in Fall 2017. She has served on the editorial boards of "Harvard Educational Review," "Journal of Southeast Asian American Education and Advancement," and the "Journal of Lao Studies." Uy has been involved in various community boards of directors including Southeast Asia Resource Action Center Center, Asian American Resource Workshop, Chea Uy Trust Fund, Institute of Asian American Studies at University of Massachusetts Boston, Legacies of War National Steering Committee, and the Nisei Student Relocation Commemorative Fund.

Sarath Suong is a co-founder and Executive Director of Providence Youth Student Movement (PrYSM).

Sarath Suong is a co-founder and Executive Director of Providence Youth Student Movement (PrYSM). Born in the Thai refugee camp Khao I Dang, Suong and his family fled Cambodia during the civil war and immigrated to his hometown of Revere, Massachusetts. He moved to Providence, Rhode Island in 1998 to attend Brown University, majoring in Ethnic Studies with a specific focus on Southeast Asian American immigration and resistance. To cope with the violence, pain, and injustices facing Southeast Asians, he became a community organizer, centered around the intersections of race, class, gender, and sexuality.

Sophal Ear

Elected to the Crescenta Valley Town Council in November 2015 to a 3-year term, encompassing more than 20,000 residents in unincorporated Los Angeles County, California, and currently serving as its Corresponding Secretary, Sophal Ear, PhD, is a tenured Associate Professor of Diplomacy & World Affairs at Occidental College in Los Angeles where he lectures on political economy,

Featured Speaker

"From Cambodian Refugee to Elected Town Councilmember With A Few Stops in Between: An Unexpected Journey"

Friday, July 28, 3:15 p.m.-4:45 p.m. in O'Leary 222 (61 Wilder Street, Lowell, MA)

Elected to the Crescenta Valley Town Council in November 2015 to a 3-year term, encompassing more than 20,000 residents in unincorporated Los Angeles County, California, and currently serving as its Corresponding Secretary, Sophal Ear, Ph.D., is a tenured Associate Professor of Diplomacy & World Affairs at Occidental College in Los Angeles where he lectures on political economy, security, development, and Asia.

Previously, he taught how to rebuild countries after wars at the U.S. Naval Postgraduate School and international development at the Maxwell School of Syracuse University. He consulted for the World Bank, was Assistant Resident Representative for the United Nations Development Programme in East Timor, and Advisor to Cambodia's first private equity fund Leopard Capital.

A TED Fellow, Fulbright Specialist, Term Member of the Council on Foreign Relations, and Young Global Leader of the World Economic Forum, he sits on the board of the Nathan Cummings Foundation (New York, NY), Refugees International (Washington, DC), Partners for Development (Silver Spring, MD), International Public Management Network (Washington, DC), the Southeast Asia Resource Action Center (Washington, DC), the Southeast Asia Development Program (Phnom Penh, Cambodia), and the Center for Khmer Studies (Siem Reap, Cambodia).

He is the author of "Aid Dependence in Cambodia: How Foreign Assistance Undermines Democracy" (Columbia University Press, 2013) and co-author of "The Hungry Dragon: How China’s Resources Quest is Reshaping the World" (Routledge, 2013). He wrote and narrated the award-winning documentary film "The End/Beginning: Cambodia"? (47 minutes, 2011, news blurb: http://youtu.be/QwsSDPRI25E) based on his 2009 TED Talk: "Escaping the Khmer Rouge" and has appeared in four other documentaries.

A graduate of Princeton and Berkeley, he moved to the United States from France as a Cambodian refugee at the age of 10.

Featured Poets

Bao Phi is a two-time Minnesota Grand Slam champion and a National Poetry Slam finalist, who has appeared on HBO Presents Russell Simmons Def Poetry and was featured in the live performances and taping of the blockbuster diasporic Vietnamese variety show Paris By Night 114: Tôi Là Người Việt Nam. Photo by Anna Min

Poetry Reading

Friday, July 28, at 8pm at Pailin City (6 Branch Street, Lowell, MA)


Bao Phi will be reading from his second collection of poems, Thousand Star Hotel, which will be published on July 5, 2017, by Coffee House Press.

Bao Phi is a two-time Minnesota Grand Slam champion and a National Poetry Slam finalist, who has appeared on HBO Presents Russell Simmons Def Poetry and was featured in the live performances and taping of the blockbuster diasporic Vietnamese variety show Paris By Night 114: Tôi Là Người Việt Nam. His poems and essays are widely published in numerous publications including Screaming Monkeys and Spoken Word Revolution Redux, and Best American Poetry (2006). He has performed in venues and schools across the country, from the Nuyorican Poets Café to the University of California, Berkeley.

His first collection of poetry, Sông I Sing (2011), is taught in classrooms across the United States and enjoyed rave reviews. including the New York Times, which stated “In this song of his very American self, every poem Mr. Phi writes rhymes with the truth.” In 2012, the Star Tribune’s inaugural Best of Minnesota issue named Bao Phi as Best Spoken Word Artist.

Currently he continues to perform across the country, remains active as an Asian American community organizer, and is the Program Director of the Loft, where he manages various programs serving writers as well as creates and operates programs for artists and audiences of color. His first children’s book, A Different Pond, illustrated by Thi Bui, will be published by Capstone Press in August of 2017.

Peuo Tuy is a spoken word poet, writer, motivational speaker, and workshop leader. Her poetry collection, Khmer Girl, is inspired by the traumas of her life, including escaping the killing fields of her native Cambodia and enduring the inequities of life as an immigrant in the United States. Photo by Todd McVey

Peuo Tuy is a spoken word poet, writer, motivational speaker, and workshop leader. Her poetry collection, Khmer Girl, is inspired by the traumas of her life, including escaping the killing fields of her native Cambodia and enduring the inequities of life as an immigrant in the United States.

Peuo’s spoken word performances have been featured in video projects, including “Futurographies: Cambodia-USA-France,” a multi-media exhibition traveling to Cambodia and France in 2016. She was one of the original members of Urbintel's HerStory cast, whose performances were filmed and performed live at East Coast venues from Massachusetts to North Carolina. She has appeared at the Nuyorican Poets Cafe, Bowery Poetry Club, Harlem Book Fair, and the New York Foundation for the Arts as well as various junior high schools and high schools. For people of all ages, she conducts writing and self-empowerment workshops that focus on peace, compassion, and overcoming adversity in difficult times.

On behalf of the Asian community, Peuo also has worked as a community organizer for CAAAV: Organizing Asian Communities/Mekong NYC in New York and for the School of Unity and Liberation (SOUL) in California, where she helped Southeast Asians and other immigrants gain equal rights in the public welfare system. She is one of the founding members of the new Cambodian American Literary Arts Association (CALAA).

Bryan Thao Worra is the president of the Science Fiction and Fantasy Poetry Association, a 40-year old international literary organization celebrating the poetry of the imaginative and the fantastic. Photo by Krysada Panusith Phounsiri

Bryan Thao Worra is the president of the Science Fiction and Fantasy Poetry Association, a 40-year old international literary organization celebrating the poetry of the imaginative and the fantastic. A Lao American writer, he holds over 20 awards for his writing and community leadership including an NEA Fellowship in Literature and was a Cultural Olympian representing Laos during the 2012 London Summer Games. In 2009 he received an Asian Pacific American Leadership Award from the governor's Council on Asian Pacific Minnesotans.

He also holds a 2011 Youth Media Innovation Award from the University of Minnesota Human Rights Center and won the 2014 Elgin Award for Book of the Year from the Science Fiction and Fantasy Poetry Association. He has presented at the Smithsonian Asian Pacific American Center, the Minneapolis Institute of Art, the Loft Literary Center, Intermedia Arts, Kearny Street Workshop, the Institute for Contemporary Art, among many others, and recently as a Visiting Artist with University of Merced Center for the Humanities. He is the first Lao writer to be professional member of the Horror Writers Association and trained several years with Asian Pacific Islanders in Philanthropy on social justice during their National Gender Equity Campaign.

One of the co-founders of the National Lao American Writers Summit, he is the author of 6 books, with work appearing internationally in Australia, Canada, Scotland, Germany, France, Singapore, Hong Kong, Thailand, Korea, and Pakistan. In his 26 years as an artist, this is his very first presentation in Massachusetts. This year also marks the 10th anniversary of his first full-length book of poetry, On The Other Side Of The Eye. You can visit his website at: http://thaoworra.blogspot.com.