UNCW, Fainting Robin Foundation Host Cambodia and Vietnam Highlanders Conference Feb. 3-4

Tuesday, January 30, 2018

UNCW and the Fainting Robin Foundation are hosting a two-day conference on the Highlanders of Cambodia and Vietnam in UNCW’s Warwick Center Feb. 3 and 4. Also known as Montagnards, they fought alongside Americans during the Vietnam War and have since resettled in North Carolina as refugees. 

Throughout the conference, panels of experts will discuss this remarkable group’s unwritten language, history, the effects of the Vietnam War and their relocation to North Carolina.

“This will be an educational and emotional experience where those in attendance will learn about some of the bravest, most honorable soldiers to ever serve with the U.S. military,” said Peter Maguire, conference organizer, UNCW history professor and the founder of the Fainting Robin Foundation. “These people risked everything to support the United States, and with so much glib talk about refugees these days, it’s important to remember the sacrifices some of these refugees have made to assist us.”

Conference panelists include former leaders of the United Front for the Liberation of Oppressed Races (FULRO); linguists Sylvain Vogel, Scott Juall and Becky Butler; former Green Berets Larry Crile and UNCW economics and finance professor Ron Copley; human rights advocate Sara Colm; the former editor of Cambodia Daily Kevin Doyle; and many more. 

“This conference draws together some of the world’s best academic Montagnard experts with those who fought beside them in the war,” Maguire said. “The panelist discussions will focus on the traditions, history and linguistic components of an important culture that is on the verge of extinction.”

The conference is free and open to the public. For more information about the day’s events and speakers, visit Cambodian Highlanders Conference; a complete schedule can be found here.

-- Christina Schechtman