Ursuline welcomed activist and author Luong Ung on March 17, 2019 as the keynote speaker at our 6th annual Global Education & Serviam Symposium. This year's global education topic is Global Displacement.
Ms. Ung shared her story as a child of war in Cambodia during the Khmer Rouge invasion and genocide in the 1970s. Her message was profound and inspiring, highlighting resilience and strength in the face of forced displacement, violence and loss.
Ms. Ung told Ursuline students how vital our school motto of “educating, inspiring and empowering” truly is. “We must use our authentic voice to bring about true change in the world. Peace is an action, not a wish – and together we have exponential power to make lasting change.”
As a young girl sent from a refugee camp in Thailand to Vermont, she encountered some hardship and prejudice but also people who were kind, everyday heroes and who helped her overcome her anger and sorrow.
Ms. Ung encouraged the Ursuline community to never underestimate the value of being a kind, good and compassionate person of integrity.
Following her presentation to the school assembly, Ms. Ung generously spent time answering questions from students and speaking to local press, News 12 Westchester and Catholic New York. The link to the Catholic New York article is HERE. In the photo above, Ms. Ung is with students pursuing the Global Scholar distinction and leaders of our Amnesty International Club. Pictured below at left is Ms. Ung with Global Education Coordinator Maria Barton, Principal Rosemary Beirne, and President Eileen Davidson. Below at right, Ms. Ung is with members of our school newspaper staff, Unison.
Ms. Ung’s memoir, First They Killed My Father, became a 2017 Netflix Original Movie that she co-screen wrote with producer-director Angelina Jolie.
Ms. Ung was also one of the writers for the documentary "Girl Rising." In addition, for 10 years, she was the spokesperson for the "Campaign for a Landmine Free World," a project of the Vietnam Veterans of America Foundation that co-founded the International Campaign to Ban Landmines and was co-recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize in 1997.
Ms. Ung's other books include Lucky Child: A Daughter of Cambodia Reunites with the Sister She Left Behind, and Lulu in the Sky: A Daughter of Cambodia Finds Love, Healing and Double Happiness.
The Global Education & Serviam Symposium at Ursuline is generously funded by a grant from The Edward E. Ford Foundation.