The 5th annual Asian Festival was held on August
9-10, 2008 in Reston, VA. The Laotian-American Women Association of Washington D.C. or
LAWA participated for the very first time. Phayvanh Sengkhyavong, a LAWA officer, said her association's goal in participating in this event was to
bring more visibility to the Lao community and raise it to a new height by showcasing
Lao culture and traditions
and let the world learn more about this tiny landlocked country.
Phayvanh told VOA, "I am very honored to be a part of this organization to help bridge and close the gap between the new and older generations. The Laotian-American Women Association was established over a decade ago, in 1993. Our main goal is to try to preserve and promote Lao culture, traditions and heritage; support Laotian women by helping to make a difference in their lives, empowering them so that they can be independent and able to live a life of quality in a new environment and society in their adopted homeland of America."
Sengphet Sandara, a vice president of LAWA helped train young girls to perform Lao traditional dances at the Asian Festival to show the world about Lao traditional dance and music. Bobby Inthavong, a young Kaene(Laos' national instrument) player, and three young Laotian dancers told VOA that they are very honored and happy to be a part of this celebration to cherish and maintain Lao culture. The lively, Lao dances and Kaene performance drew loud applauses from people who came to enjoy the festival.
Besides the Lao-Americans, other ethnic minority communities also participated in the 5th Asian Festival, providing a lot of entertainment and fun for all with their colorful and lively cultural performances.
Listen to audio files for more details.