The University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point (UWSP) Hmong and Southeast Asian American Club (HaSEAAC) will host its 19th Annual Conference Saturday, March 2, in the Legacy Room at the Dreyfus University Center on the UWSP campus.
The conference will feature speakers from around the country, as well as food. This year’s theme is “The Eyes and Ears of the Hmong” and will feature a presentation at 12:20 p.m. by Khamsao Yang, a Hmong artist, painter and speaker.
Additional speakers will discuss Hmong culture and the arts, focusing on needlework, photography, theater, graphic design and a documentary.
This year’s conference topic is important because it shows how the Hmong people and culture have held on to tradition while assimilating into the modern Western world, said Pachear Lor-Vue, HaSEAAC president.
“Hmong is based on oral history, and arts are helping to carry on our culture, she said.
People may think our culture is dying out but it’s really very strong,” she said.
Lor-Vue said about 150 people are expected to attend the conference. The conference draws many high school or college students from the central Wisconsin area and from other Wisconsin universities.
“Part of the reason why we didn’t want to charge for the conference and the food is because so many of the people who come are students,” said Lor-Vue.
The dinner will be provided by Chef Chu’s and will feature Musamon Chicken Curry and Tofu Stir Fry and Pad Thai.
Funding for the conference mostly comes from the Student Government Association.
Other highlights of the program include a presentation by Ker Thao, a student at UWSP.
“Ker has written plays for our dinners in November and is really creative,” said Mai Chue Xiong, HaSEAAC secretary and conference Welcoming Chair.
Lor-Vue and Xiong credit the conference theme and the variety of presenters to the strong HaSEAAC executive board. Finding speakers, organizing details and planning events can be difficult, said Xiong.
“We brainstormed a list of speakers and themes and all decided together,” Xiong said. “It can be hard work but we get help from our advisor. She helped us find Mazie Moua, a UWSP alumna.”
Moua, who lives in Sacramento, Calif., will present on” Expressions of Culture and Tradition Through Hmong Dance.
The documentary “Finding the Middle Way: Bridging Communities through Documentary Film Making” will be shown at the conference. Lor-Vue said the film is important because it tells a side of the local Hmong story that hasn’t been told before.
“This is specifically about Hmong in Portage County and no recent documentary about the Hmong had been made,” she said. “It really shows we’re not different and that we’re all a part of the same community.
The event is free and registration is not required but is encouraged. Registration begins at 11:15 a.m. and the conference begins at noon. The dinner starts at 5:15 p.m. Pre-registration is available at stuorgs.uwsp.edu/haswaac/pages/home.aspx.