"Dear Ms. Him, Thank you for your writing and your willingness to speak in person. In a media-saturated Fox-CNN world, students really appreciate 'reality' talks… faculty, too!"
— Dr. Claudia Koonz, Department of History, Duke University
Dr. Koonz’s above words are right on the money. Both students and faculty agree that there is nothing like learning from someone who was actually there.
I remember receiving a request from a student from the American University in Washington, D.C., who wanted so much for me to speak to her history class when they covered the period of Cambodia's destruction. She felt that it would make their learning much more dynamic and memorable if they could hear about it from me, a guest speaker who actually has firsthand experience under the Khmer Rouge regime.
That was not the only request I received. Over the past twenty-three years I have received invitations from students, faculty, and groups everywhere, to appear and tell my story.
I would welcome the opportunity to speak to your group as well. If you wish, in honor of my dear father, Him Bun, who loved the Cambodian classical ballet, I will also perform the Cambodian classical dance called the "Blessing Dance”.
When I came to America, I felt a strong urge to preserve Cambodian culture. It is estimated that about 90% of Cambodian artists perished during the Khmer Rouge regime. In 1982, at age 17, I organized a meeting with Cambodian students at Cleveland high school in Portland, Oregon, to discuss what we could do. As refugees with limited means, and without access to Cambodian goods, we created costumes from whatever was available to us. The following year we performed a Cambodian classical dance called robam jchun por ["The Blessing Dance"] during Cleveland’s Asian Week.
Robam jchun por symbolizes angels descending from heaven to bless mortals with happiness, good health and prosperity.
For over thirty years I have performed robam jchun por solo internationally, whenever my hosts ask me to combine my lecture and a dance performance.
Please check with me fee for this additional service.
Services and Fees
Generally, I speak for 30-40 minutes, leaving some time for the audience to ask questions.
Fees vary, depending on the number of presentations and discussions I am asked to give. For out-of-state and international visits I ask my hosts to make all arrangements, including the cost of airfare, hotel, and meals.
For in-state visits, depending on the destination, the hosts pay for accommodations, including the appearance fee.
Additionally, I encourage my hosts to have a book signing after my talk. You can contact my publisher at www.wwnorton.com to purchase copies of my book.
Photo by Karla Schneider @OU 2007
Photo by Sothearith Im @ Ohio University 2007
Photo taken at Cleveland High School 1983