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Loung-Ung

Loung Ung

Cambodian Genocide Survivor, Activist, and Best-Selling Author

Author, activist, and lecturer Loung Ung was only 5 years old when the Khmer Rouge soldiers stormed into her native city of Phnom Penh. Four years later, in one of the bloodiest episodes of the 20th century, some two million Cambodians – out of a population of seven million – had died at the hands…

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Author, activist, and lecturer Loung Ung was only 5 years old when the Khmer Rouge soldiers stormed into her native city of Phnom Penh. Four years later, in one of the bloodiest episodes of the 20th century, some two million Cambodians – out of a population of seven million – had died at the hands of the infamous Pol Pot and the Khmer Rouge regi me. Among the victims were both Loung’s parents, two sisters, and 20 other relatives.

In 1980, Loung and her older brother Meng escaped to the United States. Since 1995, Loung has made over thirty trips back to Cambodia and has devoted herself to helping her native land heal from the traumas of war. She has worked as an activist to end violence against women, child soldiers, and the Campaign for a Landmine Free World, and served as the s pokesperson for the campaign from 1997-2005. In 2013, Loung expanded her activism reach as one of the writers of ‘Girl Rising’, a groundbreaking film directed by Academy Award nominee Richard Robbins which tells the stories of 9 extraordinary girls from 9 countries and their stories of forced marriage, domesticsla very, sex trafficking, and gender violence and the power of education to change their worlds. Each girl’s story was written by a renowned writer from her native country, and then narrated by celebrated actresses including Cate Blanchett, Priyanka Chopra, Selena Gomez, Anne Hathaway, Salma Hayek, Alicia Keys, Meryl Streep, and Kerry Washington.

Loung’s books have allowed her to share her message about the costs of war and the need for reconciliation with a wider audience. Her national ly bestselling memoir, First They Killed My Father: A Daughter of Cambodia Remembers, ( HarperCollins 2000 ) was the recipient of the 2001 Asian/Pacific American Librarians’ Association award for “Excellence in Adult Non-fiction Literature”, and has been selec ted for many school and university reading programs in the U.S. and internationally. It has been published in 14 countries and translated into German, Dutch, Norwegian, Danish, French, Spanish, Italian, Cambodian, and Japanese. Loung’s other works includ e Lucky Child, and Lulu in the Sky, both of which are also taught in schools and universities.

In recognition of her work, The World Economic Forum selected Loung as one of the “100 Global Youth Leaders of Tomorrow.” She has been featured in The New York Times, Washington Post, USA Today, London Sunday Times, Glamour, and more. Loung has also appeared on numerous televisions and radio shows, including CNN, the Diane Rheme Show, Talk of the Nation, Weekend Edition, Fresh Air with Terry Gross, and The Today Show.

In addition, she has been the subject of an hour – long documentary for the German ARTE, Japanese NHK, and U.S. NECN, and has spoken widely at num erous forums , including Stanford University, Singapore American, Taipei American School, Mexico 1 Million Youth Summit , UN Conferences on Women in Beijing, UN Conference Against Racism and Discriminations in Durban, South Africa, and Child Soldiers Summit in Kathmandu, Nepal

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