Blong Xiong Is Headed To Laos

November 6, 2008 12:00:00 AM PST
Fresno City Council President Blong Xiong is headed to Laos next week at the request of the American embassy there.Two years ago Blong Xiong became the first Hmong American elected to the Fresno City Council. Today he presides over council meetings as its president.

He came to America 32 years ago as a refugee. The Hmong fled persecution in Laos for working with the U.S. during the Vietnam War era.

Today he's preparing to return to the land of his birth. He was invited by the Lao government and the U.S. Embassy to lecture twice a day, for a week. He'll be talking to government employees and college students, explaining how democracy works in cities like Fresno all across the United States.

"There's a little bit of nervousness as well, how I will be received in terms of knowing who I am because of my community and also my connection with the old country," said Xiong.

Xiong is confident his visit as an elected member of representative government here in Fresno, California can help strengthen America's ties with Laos. "I'm part of both Lao and Hmong. This is important for us as communities to remember who we are, but maybe on a large level to continue building a relationship between the U.S. and the Lao government.

On a local level that international relationship is also important to Hmong-Americans with family still living in Laos.



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