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Southeast Asian Immigration

Thép Thavonsouk (Laos)

Thavonsouk was born in Vientiane, the capital of Laos. There he was educated in French and completed his degree at the Lycee de Vientiane. In 1967 he was awarded the Fulbright Scholarship to attended university in New York. There he completed a degree in diplomacy. He returned to Laos, fluent in eight languages and hoping to work for the United Nations. The rising turmoil of the region, however, forced him to leave Laos and he moved to Lethbridge, Alberta, three years before the Vietnam War broke out. He taught French and English before realizing what he really wanted to do was paint. This realization took him on a decade long journey to Taiwan, Japan, and Hawaii where he studied under different artists, experimenting with different styles. His own style finally emerged, a blend of realism and impressionism. Thavonsouk calls Calgary home, though his paintings are based on images from his Laotian childhood. His work has been exhibited in countries such as Canada, Laos, and Singapore.

Wayne Cao (Vietnam)

Cao was born in South Vietnam but has lived in Calgary since 1976. He has studied engineering and maths-science at universities in Auckland, Saigon, and Waterloo. From 1973 to1997 Cao worked for the Shell Petroleum Company. In 1997 he took early retirement to run for public office. That year he was elected as Member of the Legislative Assembly for the riding of Calgary Fort as a member of the Progressive Conservative party. He has since been re-elected twice, in 2001 and 2004. In addition, Cao has taught at both the Southern Alberta Institute of Technology and in Vietnam. In 2001 Cao introduced the Alberta Official Song Act which established an official song of Alberta in time for the 2005 centennial. Since then Cao has embarked on a project that would see Canada's national anthem, O Canada, translated into every language spoken by Canadians.

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