All posts filed under: Community

A Community for Us, By Us: Reflections on LAWS 2016

What a weekend. This year’s Lao American Writers Summit (LAWS) was momentous in so many ways. Taking place in San Diego, California from May 27-28, 2016, it was the first time the Summit was held outside of Minnesota, the first Summit to take place in consecutive years, and the largest gathering by far. People came in from all over the U.S. to learn and connect. Although the event was held over a weekend, the Summit officially kicked off festivities on May 12 with the opening of the gallery installation titled “Intersectionalities,” curated by Catzie Vilayphonh and Sayon Syprasoeuth, featuring artwork from various Lao American artists from across the nation. The gallery and the Summit took place in the beautiful Centro Cultural de La Raza, which was the perfect venue for sharing art, making connections, and telling stories. If I were to break down some key observations from this year’s Summit, they would be: There is an ongoing need and desire for a space where Lao Americans can connect and express themselves. I attended the Lao American Writers Summit for the …

Lao American returnee organizes first official Vientiane International Half Marathon

It’ll be three years since Thouni Seneyakone permanently moved back home to the cozy capital of Vientiane. Almost a decade ago, we were just nimble freshmen at the University of Minnesota, learning the art of planning cultural events as board members of the Lao Students Association. From Laos to Minnesota at the age of 10 and now back to Laos as an adult, it’s been a journey that’s come full circle. “Returning to Laos to work and live here has always been my goal.” On a typical day at sunrise, you can catch an energetic Thouni and her running group ‘Team We Run’ jogging along the streets of Vientiane. An avid runner and sports enthusiast, Thouni and friends formed Events for Good, a socially-conscious sports event planning company based in Vientiane, which focuses on “organizing sporting events to promote healthy, active lifestyles and raising funds to help local communities.” This March 6th, Thouni is organizing the Vientiane International Half Marathon, the first in the capital city to be backed by many big supporters, including the Lao government. More than 500 local and international runners …