All posts tagged: United States

President Obama’s Remarks in Vientiane: Acknowledging the People and its Past

(Artwork by Chantala Kommanivanh) I woke up this morning and caught my father listening to President Obama’s speech for the first time. His eyes were on the floor. I knew what it meant. My father would never allow his children see him cry. As a 27-year-old senior lieutenant of the Royal Lao Army who was trained at Fort Knox in the early 1970s, the scars of that era was traumatic as it was deeply lonely for my family. It’s why President Obama’s historic visit to Laos and his remarks in Vientiane is powerfully meaningful to the hundreds of thousands of Laotian diaspora who fled to seek new havens to call home. I’m echoing what many across the world are feeling this week: it’s a good time to be Laotian American. The momentum of President Obama’s visit to Laos is undeniable. In the over 60 years that the United States has established diplomatic relations with Laos, this is the first time a president is realizing the potential in Laos, as part of a crucial pivot and ‘rebalance’, as they put …

Welcome back to Laos, Secretary John Kerry

Secretary John Kerry has landed in Laos for a few days. Thanks to the dedicated advocacy efforts of Legacies of War, led by Channapha Khamvongsa, the momentum around the UXO issue in Laos is in a media frenzy. If you’ve been following the U.S. Embassy Vientiane’s Facebook page, Secretary John Kerry has returned to Laos in efforts to improve U.S.-Laos diplomatic relations on the clean-up efforts as well as other development issues. This is ahead of the ASEAN Summit in California next month and the Obama Administration’s pivot to the region towards the end of 2016. What does the ASEAN Summit have in store for a Laos in transition, politically and socially, this year? Read up and chime in below. — From Department of State: Remarks With Lao Prime Minister Thongsing Thammavong Before Their Meeting Remarks John Kerry Secretary of State Government House Vientiane, Laos January 25, 2016 SECRETARY KERRY: Well, thank you, Mr. Prime Minister. I’m very happy to be back. I have been a here a number of times through the years and we appreciate very …