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APPEARANCES - Cultural Journeys: Chanrithy's Memoirs & the Dance of Blessing

Photo by Sothearith Im @ Ohio University 2007

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Photos (1) Coconut Dance - Cleveland High School 1983 (2) "The Blessing Dance" - The Portland Hilton Hotel during a National Conference for Upward Bound directors, December 1984 (3) "Fishing Dance" - Stake Center for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-days Saints, 1986.

"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. Claudia Koonz from Duke University's History Department once shared, "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!" Her words echo the sentiment of many who seek a genuine connection in our often over-digitized world.

I recall a request from a student at the American University in Washington, D.C., who passionately wanted me to address her history class. They were about to delve into Cambodia's harrowing past, and she believed that hearing directly from someone who lived through the Khmer Rouge regime would bring a uniquely authentic dimension to their learning.

Indeed, over the past twenty-three years, such requests have not been uncommon. I've received invitations from around the globe, extending from eager students to inquisitive faculty members, all seeking to enrich their understanding through my personal narrative.

I am always honored to accept these invitations. In tribute to my late father, Bun Him, an ardent admirer of the Cambodian classical ballet, I also offer to perform Robam Jchun Por, the "Blessing Dance." This dance is more than an artistic expression; it's a poignant reminder of a culture that was nearly destroyed under the Khmer Rouge, when approximately 90% of Cambodian artists perished.

In 1982, as a 17-year-old refugee in Portland, Oregon, I spearheaded an effort among Cambodian students to resurrect our cultural heritage. We improvised, crafting costumes from whatever materials we could find, and reintroduced Robam Jchun Por - a dance that symbolizes angels bestowing happiness, health, and prosperity. For over thirty years, I have carried this tradition worldwide, often intertwining dance with my lectures.

Should you wish to include this dance in our session, please inquire about the additional arrangements. It is a meaningful way to further connect with the rich tapestry of Cambodian history and culture.

I eagerly look forward to the opportunity to share my story and perhaps, through a blend of narrative and dance, bring a new layer of understanding to your group. 


Just a heads-up, there’s a fee for the dance performance – after all, a girl's gotta eat!

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Photo by Karla Schneider @OU 2007

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Photo by Karla Schneider @OU 2007

Services and Fees

Photos by Trevor Fisher during the Cultural Night at Brigham Young University Hawaii Campus on November 15, 1985.

Engaging Minds, Enriching Hearts: My Speaking Engagements

When I step up to the podium, my aim is to weave a narrative that captivates for about 30-40 minutes - a journey through words, leaving a trail of thoughts and ample space for curious minds to ask questions. It's a dance of dialogue and discovery, and you're invited to join in.

As for the practicalities, my fees are as varied as the stories I tell, tailored to the scope of presentations and discussions. Think of it as a bespoke experience, crafted to fit our mutual needs. For those distant adventures beyond my home state, I kindly ask my hosts to arrange the travel essentials - airfare, accommodations, and meals. It's not just a speaking engagement; it's an expedition of shared learning.

Closer to home, for in-state engagements, the requirements are simpler: just the cost of transportation, logistics of stay and the speaking fee. It's about making our meeting as seamless as possible.

And what's a tale without a tangible memory? I encourage my hosts to arrange a book signing post-discussion. It's a chance to extend our conversation and for you to hold a piece of the story in your hands. Copies of my book can be easily acquired through my publisher at

Together, let's create a session that resonates with insight, sprinkled with moments of light-heartedness, and leaves us all a little more connected to the stories that shape our world.


Photo taken during the Genocide Awareness Week at Portland State University 2007

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