Loung Ung is a survivor of the killing fields of Cambodia, when some 1.7 million Cambodians died at the hands of Pol Pot and the Khmer Rouge regime.
Loung Ung was born in 1970 in Phnom Penh. By 1978, the Khmer Rouge had killed her parents and two of her siblings, and she was forced to train as a child soldier. In 1980, she and her older brother escaped by boat to Thailand, where they spent five months in a refugee camp before relocating to Vermont through sponsorship by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops and a parish in Burlington.
Fifteen years after her escape, Ung returned to Cambodia and learned that 20 of her relatives had been killed. This realization compelled her to devote herself to justice and reconciliation in her homeland.
A featured speaker on Cambodia, child soldiers, women and war, domestic violence, and landmines, Ung has presented at numerous conferences and universities worldwide. She is author of First They Killed My Father, a national best-seller and recipient of a 2001 Asian/Pacific American Librarians’ Association Award, and Lucky Child. Her third memoir, Lulu in the Sky: A Daughter of Cambodia Finds Love, Healing, and Double Happiness.
Ung has appeared in the New York Times, the Washington Post, and Ms. Magazine, as well as on NPR, CBS, NBC, CNN, Fox, and C-SPAN. Loung Ung was selected by the World Economic Forum as one of the “100 Global Youth Leaders of Tomorrow.”
What People are Saying About Loung Ung
“Loung Ung is a rare and remarkable speaker.…[She has] a voice of strength, kindness, and most of all, of incandescent hope.…[It] empowers us to put down whatever hardship we might have endured and forge ahead to create the world we all would like to see.”
—Gail Straub, cofounder and executive director of The Empowerment Institute