Author Loung Ung was just five years old when communist revolutionaries known as the Khmer Rouge took control of her home country of Cambodia. Nearly a quarter of the population died in the ensuing genocide. But she survived, eventually making her way to Vermont. She recently returned to her alma mater to speak with students as part of Essex High School's Global Leadership Program.
Ung's memoirs have become international best-sellers, and on Friday, May 18, she returned to Essex High School to speak with students in the school's new Global Leadership Program. The nearly 80 students had read her first book, First They Killed My Father, watched the 2017 film adaptation of the same name and researched the dark period in Cambodian history.
Vermont Edition was invited to interview the Cambodian-American author during her visit to the school, where Ung discussed how she channeled her guilt from surviving the Khmer Rouge into her writing and activism, and talked about what she wishes she had known when she was a student at Essex High.
Broadcast on Wednesday, May 22, 2018 at noon; rebroadcast at 7 p.m.