“I’m so honored to receive the award and would like to thank the Alumni board for this special recognition,” said Khamvongsa. “My invaluable time at Georgetown and the Public Policy School not only equipped me with the analytical skills for policy making, but it also enabled me to develop life-long relationships with mentors and friends, to whom I am deeply grateful in contributing to the success of Legacies of War.”
She is founder and executive director of Legacies of War, an organization that seeks to address the problem of unexploded ordnance in Laos, to provide space for healing the wounds of war, and to create greater hope for a future of peace. The organization uses art, culture, education, and community organizing, especially among the Lao diaspora, to create healing and transformation out of the wreckage of war.
Legacies has successfully advocated for an increase in U.S. funding for bomb clearance in Laos, from an annual average of $2M in 2008 to $30M in 2016. In September 2016, President Barack Obama acknowledged Channapha’s advocacy efforts in Laos, where he became the first U.S. President to visit the country.
The McCourt Distinguished Alumni Award recognizes a McCourt or GPPI alumnus with a record of outstanding accomplishments within their chosen profession or demonstrated service to the McCourt and GPPI community.