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Vongsavanh Boutsavath



Vongsavanh Boutsavath was born in Laos in 1936. He was the General Commissioner for Rural Affairs of the Royal Lao Government from 1966 to 1973. He was also a lecturer at the Royal Institute of Law and Administration of the Sisavong University from 1968 to 1973. From 1973 to 1975, he served as a senator in the Kingdom of Laos. After the communist takeover in 1975, he was imprisoned in a hard labor camp for a year. He was released because of his professional qualifications and forced to work on a number of projects for the Pathet Lao, including setting up the National Company of Road Transportation and the Central Warehouse. In 1988, he was recruited to work for the United Nations Development Program as a translator and interpreter for the Projects Program. In 1993, he fled Laos to join his younger sister




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Vongsavanh Boutsavath Transcription

I’m Vongsavanh Boutsavath. I’m a refugee. I fled my country from the communist rule because it’s too much suffering during that time of their occupation. I was General Commissioner for Rural Development. That means for rural community development at that time. And at the same time I taught in the Royal Lao Institute of Law and Administration. And after that, I became senator before the communist took over the country. I graduated from the University of Paris. Laos was a very poor country. I think we should improve the conditions of the people. I could not stand anymore such living. And then I was ? I was working for some time for the communist government. And I was thinking, in myself, to flee the country but I was waiting for the good opportunity. Otherwise, otherwise you would be killed. I asked the United Nations Development Program to recruit me as a program officer at that time. So I had been working for them for five years before fleeing the country.

And the family of my sister, they too was???, they lived here in St. Paul. I asked to visit them. Not to be a refugee. But when I come here, in the United States, of course I was thinking to go away from the communist regime. And so it’s a good opportunity to stay forever. That’s why I become a refugee

In 1993 ?? very good things that people know their origins even though they are American. It doesn’t matter. But it matters that we have to learn the history of things, as it were. I’m proud and I’m very happy. More and more the Laotians here recognize their origins and continue to strengthen their relationship between our two countries.