You are invited to a special champagne brunch and 25th anniversary program honoring the work and impact of Project Ngoc.
Project Ngoc was a student organization founded in 1987 at UC Irvine that worked tirelessly to support Vietnamese refugees detained in camps after the Vietnam War.
The event is sponsored by the UC Irvine Libraries Southeast Asian Archive and its Advisory Board, the Vietnamese American Community Ambassadors (a chapter of the UCI Alumni Association), the UC Irvine School of Humanities’ Vietnamese American Oral History Project, and Project Ngoc alums.
It is very easy to register here. The event registration fee: $15 per person. Registration includes onsite parking and the champagne brunch. Registration fees are nonrefundable. Please register by September 6.
Comments or questions? Please email firstname.lastname@example.org or call the Special Collections & Archives Reference Desk at (949) 824-3947.
- See the Libraries’ exhibit about Project Ngoc: Hope of Freedom: Project Ngoc’s Decade of Dedication and learn more about Project Ngoc’s impact and legacy
- Experience history in action as Thuy Vo Dang, Project Director for the Vietnamese American History Project, interviews former Project Ngoc leaders
- Share your testimony and experiences with the audience
- Reconnect with Project Ngoc members or make new friends
- Find out more about the Southeast Asian Archive’s efforts to preserve the histories of Southeast Asian refugees and immigrants
- Help the Vietnamese American Community Ambassadors reach their $25,000 fundraising goal for the Southeast Asian Archive
- Enjoy a champagne brunch
Parking in Lot 1 is included for attendees. The entrance for Parking Lot 1 is located off of Pereria Drive. Please see this map for more information. Langson Library is Building 102; parking lot 1 is nearby. See also driving directions to main campus.
Financial donations are encouraged to support the UCI Libraries Southeast Asian Archive. Since 1987, the UCI Libraries Southeast Asian Archive has preserved the histories of refugees and immigrants from Laos, Cambodia, and Vietnam who left their home countries after 1975. Working with community advisers, UCI staff have collected books, journals, photographs, letters, diaries, organizational records, paintings, audio-visual materials, and more about the Southeast Asian American experience. The collections are used by community members, students, faculty, scholars, journalists, and others from across the world to tell stories that might otherwise go untold.
Funds raised at this event will go towards the VACA initiative to hire an archivist to build collections about Southeast Asian Americans for future generations. VACA seeks to raise $25,000.
What will the archivist do? The archivist will build relationships in the Southeast Asian American community and identify important historical materials that document the Southeast Asian American experience for preservation. The archivist will focus on collecting, organizing, and preserving unique, unpublished archival materials. The VACA initiative will fund an archivist for one year, but this is just a starting point. Continuing partnerships and support from the Southeast Asian American community are essential to help UCI preserve the historical legacy of Southeast Asian Americans for future generations. The Southeast Asian Archive is an internationally recognized research collection and is a top priority for the UCI Libraries.
To make a tax deductible donation, give online now, or print out a form to mail. Donors receive benefits accorded to the Partners of the UCI Libraries. Donors who contribute over $500 will also receive a reproduction of a refugee painting from the Project Ngoc archive.
PROJECT NGOC EXHIBIT
The UCI Libraries exhibit, Hope of Freedom: Project Ngoc’s Decade of Dedication, celebrates the power of student activism while also remembering the many tragedies of the Southeast Asian refugee crisis. Drawing deeply from the Project Ngoc Records in the Libraries Southeast Asian Archive, the exhibit includes photographs, correspondence, clippings, flyers, and reproductions of the powerful paintings that Project Ngoc members collected from refugee artists detained in camps in Hong Kong and Thailand.
Initiated as a class in 1987 by UCI graduate student Tom Wilson, Project Ngoc raised awareness about the plight of Southeast Asian refugees and provided direct relief to refugees detained in camps. Project Ngoc raised money to send students to work as teachers, counselors, and translators in refugee camps in Hong Kong, the Philippines, and Thailand, and to lobby in Washington, D.C. on behalf of Southeast Asian refugees. In Orange County, they organized protests, vigils, art exhibits, concerts, and conferences. These ambitious students had a tremendous impact at home and abroad. Project Ngoc disbanded in 1997, after most Vietnamese refugees had been resettled or repatriated.
Some reflections from UCI students who have visited the exhibit:
- “”Project Ngoc really opened my eyes to the wondrous things that students can do when they really fight for a passion… It’s amazing to think that students really do have a voice and the power to make a difference on such an international front.”
- “I personally was very touched by the effort shown by UC Irvine students who participated in Project Ngoc, which made significant strides towards improving the lives of refugees… This exhibit underscores the fact that college students are able to empower themselves through a uniting cause and truly make a difference for others… To see this exhibit shed light on these tragic journeys that so many of its students have grown up knowing is truly inspiring and emotional for me. Many of these tragedies resulting from the refugee experience are also completely unknown to our generation….”
- “I was mostly moved by Project Ngoc itself. The fact that students from UC Irvine were involved in this project and went to these camps to not only witness and experience the crisis first hand, but also to spread awareness and advocate for the refugees back in California is truly inspiring… The fact that this class bridged the university with community organizations and social justice is truly beautiful and is something I would love to see with more classes today.”
- “…as I spent time looking at the exhibit, I was very ecstatic to learn that Project Ngoc was started by a group of ambitious UCI students. I could not help but think about what kind of actions I would have done if I was a UCI student back then and how the whole campus reacted to Project Ngoc… These students actually went overseas to help work with the refugee community or lobby in Washington D.C… I was glad to learn about the Project Ngoc because not only did it raise my knowledge about Vietnam refugees, it made me proud to be a UC Irvine student.”
- “While walking the exhibit reading the description of the person who drew the paintings, their experience reminded me of my family because they were boat people…. I am planning on taking my family to the Project Ngoc exhibit and maybe via this opportunity it will open up our communications for them to talk more about their experience and for me to ask more questions.”
- “I loved the exhibit, for it gave me an understanding of what my parents and family had to go through during this hard time. I asked my dad about his experience when I got home after seeing the exhibit, and it made me respect him even more….This exhibit was very eye-opening and helped me better understand my culture.”
PROJECT NGOC ARCHIVES
The UCI Libraries Southeast Asian Archive preserves the historical records of Project Ngoc. The records are described in a finding aid. Anyone is welcome to consult the materials in the Special Collections and Archives Reading Room. Some materials are also available online.
If former members have any additional historical records about Project Ngoc (e.g., photographs, diaries, correspondence, etc.), the Southeast Asian Archive welcomes additional donations to this collection. Contact email@example.com for more information.