Laos

LAOS AT A GLANCE

Continent: Asia

Geographic Coordinates: 18 00N, 105 00E

Borders: Thailand, Vietnam, Burma, Cambodia, China

Population: 6,803,699 (July 2014 est.)

Ethnic Groups: Lao 55%, Khmou 11%, Hmong 8%, other (over 100 minor ethnic groups) 26% (2005 census)

WHY PEOPLE WERE FORCED TO LEAVE THEIR HOMES:

With the withdrawal of US forces from South East Asia in 1975, the communist Pathet Lao took control of the government of Laos ending a six-century-old monarchy and sending refugees streaming across the border into Thailand. These refugees were eventually resettled internationally and were the first contemporary refugee population resettled in Vermont. The first Lao refugees were resettled in Springfield in 1980.

LAOTIANS IN VERMONT

Blog Post: Souphine Phathsoungneune to Receive Vermont Heritage Artist Governor's Award (Article describing award presented to Souphine Phathsoungneune, a folk opera singer relocated from Laos to Brattleboro, VT, for his work on the music production “I Think of This Every Time I Think of Mountains.”)

Green Mountain Lao Association

Twin Cities Daily Planet Article: Documenting a diaspora: 40 years and beyond (the article describes preparations for the 40th anniversary of the Lao diaspora with mentions of Vermont residents Souphine Phathsoungneune and Phayvanh Luekhamhan)

Blog of Montpelier-based Lao poet and writer Phayvanh Luekhamhan