All posts tagged: Diplomacy

NEWS FLASH: Rena Bitter is new U.S. Ambassador to Laos

(photo: U.S. Department of State) Here’s an interesting bit of news flash, especially for those who understand the complexities of the Southeast Asia pivot and Vietnam and China friendships with Laos. Amb. Rena Bitter has just been confirmed in her new post as the new U.S. ambassador to Laos. “Rena Bitter, a career member of the Senior Foreign Service, class of Minister-Counselor, currently serves as Consul General at the U.S. Consulate General in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, a position she has held since 2013. Ms. Bitter’s experience in Vietnam, an important neighbor of Laos, demonstrated her ability to promote trade and human rights, including opening space for a broader range of political speech. Her understanding of the region and U.S. foreign policy more generally, gained through a number of key assignments in the Department, has prepared her well to become U.S. Ambassador to Laos.” Learn more about who she is:

U.S. Embassy Vientiane gets its first Lao American diplomat

Forty years after thousands of refugees left Laos to settle in different countries across the world, a new generation of the Lao diaspora is redefining their relationship with their heritage and motherland. LLOTP sat down with Stacey Phengvath, a second generation Lao American who became the first non-military Lao American to serve as a U.S. Foreign Service Specialist at the U.S. Embassy in Vientiane. At her post, Stacey not only represents the U.S. government, but a unique segment of the Lao American experience. Tell us a little bit about yourself and your family. My parents fled Laos as refugees in 1975, and I grew up listening to their stories. It’s amazing how their story telling created a motion picture in my mind; while I wasn’t personally there, I could feel the pain they went through years ago. When I was born, my family moved to Danbury, Connecticut and struggled to make ends meet in a subsidized housing community. It was their experiences as refugees and their hardships in America that piqued my interested in entering public service. …