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Speaker series hosts Cambodian education activists

Friday, April 6, 2012

FREDERICK, Md.—Two women who have been instrumental in helping poor communities in Cambodia educate its children will give a talk April 24 at 7 p.m. in the Whitaker Campus Center at Hood College.

The event, "Giving Back: Empowering Cambodia's Children," is part of the College's annual Social Visionary Speaker Series. A panel discussion, reception, book signing and Cambodian crafts sale to benefit Cambodian education initiatives will follow the talk.

Kari Grady Grossman, award-winning author and activist, will talk about her efforts to combat poverty and oppression, and to bring education opportunities to children through the school she and her husband founded in 2001 in a rural Cambodian community.

Grossman is the executive director of Sustainable Schools International, an organization committed to helping poor, rural and marginalized Cambodian communities support and sustain schools for its children. She is the author of "Bones That Float," a compelling account of how the adoption of her Cambodian son inspired her to make a difference for the children of that country. Grossman has also produced numerous documentaries and written for Discovery Channel Online.

Pouv Judd is the founder of Cambodia Reads, a nonprofit organization dedicated to expanding access to basic educational materials and enrichment experiences for elementary-age children in a small village in the Cambodian province of Kompong Cham.

Born in Cambodia in 1970, Judd was raised during the Khymer Rouge regime, known for its four-year rule over Cambodia that is marked by the deaths of approximately two million Cambodians through political executions, starvation and forced labor. Her education did not begin until age nine, when the regime was ousted from power, but there were few resources and little support for education. Later Judd worked to organize against poor working conditions in Phnom Penh; today she is focused on encouraging Cambodian children to stay in school and to use their education to improve their futures.

The Social Visionary Speaker Series was established to introduce the Hood and Frederick communities to individuals who have successfully turned unique visions and ideas into real and practical solutions that enhance the quality of life for others, and to inspire fresh and imaginative ways of thinking about contemporary issues.

This event is presented by Hood's career center and office of service learning.

For more information, contact Yvette Webster, community service coordinator, by calling (301) 696-3583 or by e-mail at webster@hood.edu.