Letters From Home post-show discussions

On select evenings, Kalean Ung will be joined by guests to discuss the play:

Dr. Leakhena Nou
Saturday, November 10

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Leakhena Nou is a medical sociologist and Professor of sociology at California State University, Long Beach. Firmly committed to applied research and activism, Dr. Nou’s primary research interests include the epidemiology of social stress and health/illness, political sociology, sociology of women, and human rights/humanitarian/transitional/international justice, particularly issues of health and mental health and the long-term impacts of stress and trauma among Cambodian adult refugees and the post-Khmer Rouge generation. She is also the founder and executive director of the Applied Social Research Institute of Cambodia (ASRIC), an organization dedicated to providing Cambodians in-country and throughout the diaspora the opportunity to seek justice and reconciliation. Dr. Nou is presently conducting research on the Khmer Rouge Tribunal and is developing projects that address issues of ambivalence, restorative justice, reconciliation, reparation, and healing.

 

Chan Hopson, Community Advocate
Sunday, November 11

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Chan Hopson was a high school teacher in Cambodia when the Killing Fields began. She survived the work camps and subsequently came to America where she promised to help as many Khmer children, women and families as possible. Her commitment to the Khmer community is clearly demonstrated when she became Founder and Executive Director of The Khmer Parent Association in Long Beach, to address the education gap among High School youth and connect Khmer families to health education resources. She has rebuilt and enriched the lives of over 1000 youth through her education programs. Through her Annual Southeast Asian Scholarship Program, almost 300 selected High School seniors obtained college degrees. Many of them completed their Masters degrees with five receiving PhD's. She established the first ever Annual Khmer Health Forum to educate the Cambodian community about preventive medicine. She also started the first of its kind Annual Mother & Daughter Conference in Long Beach to “Build, Develop and Strengthen Relationships Across Cultures, Create Friendly Dialogue, Connect and Share experiences as One Community”. She was honored with numerous awards such as “Woman of the Year” by the California State Assembly, Patrick O’Donnell, 70th District, in 2016, Grand Marshal of the 2015 Cambodian New Year Parade in Long Beach, International Goodwill and Understanding award from Soroptimist International of Long Beach, Woman of Distinction Award from State Senator Ricardo Lara in 2014 for addressing the PTSD issues in the community, the Gene Lentzner Human Relations Award from CCEJ in 2009, the California Senate Resolution from State Senator Alan Lowenthal for “Women Who Make a Difference” in 2008, the President’s Volunteer Services Award in 2007 and the American Cancer Society Collaboration Award in 2006. She is a graduate of multiple health and education programs.

 

Dr. Sophal Ear
Saturday, November 17

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Sophal Ear, Ph.D., is a tenured Associate Professor of Diplomacy & World Affairs at Occidental College. He is on the Editorial Boards of several scholarly journals and 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 (2011) based on his 2009 TED Talk “Escaping the Khmer Rouge.” He is an Executive Producer of In the Life of Music, which “depict[s] the lives of people whose world is inevitably transformed by the emergence of the Khmer Rouge,” and Some of My Best Friends Are Kimchi, a film that explores conceptions of authenticity, race, and privilege in both documentary film and foodie culture. He serves on the Board of several organizations including the Center for Khmer Studies, the Southeast Asia Resource Action Center, and Refugees International, and as Treasurer of the Southeast Asia Development Program. In 2015, he was named a 40 Under 40 Inspiring Professor by NerdWallet and in 2016 won the Reverend Clementa C. Pinckney Achievement Award for Extraordinary Leadership in Public Service by the Public Policy & International Affairs (PPIA) Fellowship Program. A graduate of Princeton and Berkeley, he moved to the United States from France as a Cambodian refugee at the age of 10.