Author: Leslie

Recap: 3rd Lao Teachers Reunion

This year marks the 40th anniversary of the Lao diaspora. And for some former Lao teachers, it took all 40 years to be able to reunite with past classmates and colleagues at the 3rd Lao Teachers Reunion. The biannual event took place from June 27th-June 29th, 2015 in Streamwood, Illinois and brought together nearly 700 guests from all over the world, including the U.S., France, Australia, Canada, and Laos. The attendees shared one common connection: they all spent their early teacher training days at the School of Pedagogy in Dongdok Village, Vientiane. The festivities kicked off on Saturday with a dinner reception and evening soiree at The Seville Banquet and Conference Center. The program began with opening remarks by past and present organizers, followed by an energetic performance of the song, “Dae Pheuan Kru,” (“For My Teacher Friends”). The song, written by esteemed Lao song writer Ajarn S. Sengsourivanh who was also in attendance, expressed the strong bonds of kinship among Lao teachers, eloquently capturing the emotions of the evening. The night continued with traditional Lao dance performances as well as a Lao band that encouraged guests to dance the night away.   Though the performances provided great entertainment throughout the …

Lao Diaspora of the Week: Saengthong Douangdara

This week’s featured Lao diaspora is Saengthong Douangdara, better known as Saeng. Saeng was born in a refugee camp in Thailand and grew up in Southern Wisconsin. He currently resides in California and is the founder of Tie Theory, a company that sells hand-crafted bowties and pocket squares to benefit social causes. What is Tie Theory? How did you come up with idea of starting up something like Tie Theory? Before Tie Theory was created, I developed several small businesses on the side to help support myself through college.  The entrepreneurial mindset was always with me. When I moved to California, I took up sewing so I could tailor my own clothes. I was able to teach myself how to sew in a few weeks despite having never used a sewing machine before. Surprisingly, I discovered a new passion. In a few months, I found myself tailoring my friends’ clothes and making costumes, dresses, suits, and bow ties. Not too much later, Tie Theory was born. Tie Theory is a social brand that infuses social …