Hongsa Chanthavong Oral History Interview

Hongsa Chanthavong Oral History Interview
LC Subject
Asian Americans Community organization Immigrants
Chanthavong, Hongsa
Fernández, Natalia, 1985-
Hongsa Chanthavong was born on October 1, 1934, in Laos to Laotian parents who were born in the early 1900s. Because he comes from Laos, he self-identifies as Lao. Chanthavong attended school in Laos, in Vientiane, until coming to the United States in 1959 to study at the University of Miami. He came by himself to study in the School of Government of Political Science on a scholarship granted by the U.S. government. After his graduation in 1964, he began working for the State Department as an escort interpreter, but after three months, he returned to Laos. There, he worked for the government when in 1975 he was captured by communists and came as a refugee to the United States in 1983 with his wife and children. He began his career at IRCO in 1984 as a business specialist with the Economic Development Project. He moved from that position to resource specialist to director of the International Language Bank, and then he set up the Asian Family Center, becoming the center coordinator in 1994. He now works as the community organizer of the Diversity and Civic Leadership Project and as a business development specialist. The Immigrant and Refugee Community Organization (IRCO) was established in 1976 to serve immigrants and refugees in Portland, Oregon. IRCO's mission is to promote the integration of refugees, immigrants, and the community at large into a self-sufficient, healthy, and inclusive multiethnic society. Through its five primary locations – IRCO Main, Africa House/Skill Center, Asian Family Center, Senior Services Center, and the International Language Bank – the organization provides programs and services related to training and employment, health and aging, English language learning, naturalization and social adjustment, community development, early childhood, parenting and youth development, education and interpretation and translation.
Work Type
Portland >> Multnomah County >> Oregon >> West >> United States
In Copyright
Local Collection Name
Asian Family Center Oral History Collection, 2014-2016 (OH 30)
OSU Special Collections & Archives Research Center Oregon Multicultural Archives
Primary Set
Oregon Multicultural Archives
Oregon State University