Three living legends — each with a different perspective on Vietnam — will speak about their experiences at a morning conference before the awards. The three historic figures are:
- Navy Capt. Paul Jacobs, whose lone destroyer escort organized the secret rescue of 30,000 Vietnamese after the fall of Saigon.
- Nha Ca, a Vietnamese writer who has published over 40 books of prose and poetry and is recognized throughout the world as the most prolific literary voice to come out of the Asian country.
- San Diego County Supervisor Bill Horn, who served as a Marine in Vietnam, was wounded, and returned home to personally sponsor hundreds of Vietnamese to come to America and begin new lives. Horn will receive the 2016 Asian Heritage Award as a diversity pioneer
The conference takes place from 8:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. on April 23 at the institute on the University of San Diego campus. The conference, titled “Sowing Seeds of Peace, Justice and Success,” is free and open to the public.
Other conference panelists include Jenny Do, who emigrated from Vietnam to become a leading activist against human trafficking; Dr. Suzie Dong-Matsuda, a successful doctor who fled by boat when she was 16 after her father was imprisoned by the communists; Dr. David Adler of UC San Diego, who led efforts to certify dozens of former pharmacists forced to flee Vietnam; and Le Ly Hayslip, the subject of Oliver Stone’s movie “Heaven and Earth.”
“This is not a commemoration but a marking of a new life that began 41 years ago, after the fall of Saigon,” said Rosalynn Carmen, president of the Asian Heritage Society, which is producing both the morning conference and evening awards ceremony.
The 14th annual awards ceremony begins after the conference, at 5:30 p.m. Tickets starting at $165 are available online.
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