Skip Navigation

Cambodian Genocide Survivor and Author Featured Speaker in Keene State Lecture Series

Author, human-rights activist, and survivor of the Cambodian genocide, Loung Ung
Author, human-rights activist, and survivor of the Cambodian genocide, Loung Ung

Author, human-rights activist, and survivor of the Cambodian genocide, Loung Ung is the featured speaker for Keene State College’s 2024 Genocide Awareness Lecture on April 3.

The lecture is the final event in the Cohen Center for Holocaust and Genocide Studies 40th anniversary series. Titled Ordinary Citizens, Extraordinary Leaders: Creating Change Through Activism and Volunteerism, Ung’s presentation begins at 5:30 p.m. in the Mabel Brown Room in the Student Center. The public is invited and registration is currently open.

The event is also available via livestream, a format that the Cohen Center has offered all year to make major events accessible to wider audiences.

Ung’s memoir, First They Killed My Father, is an autobiographical account of the genocide that was later made into a Netflix film produced by Angelina Jolie.

“The lecture is the culmination of three special events bringing speakers from across the globe to Keene State,” Dr. Kate DeConinck, Director of Cohen Center for Holocaust and Genocide Studies, said. “Ung’s talk is meant to leave the audience with a sense of how they can take action to prevent the root causes of genocidal violence. It promises to be profound.”

A public reception and book signing will precede the lecture, from 3 to 4:30 p.m. in the Mountain View Room, also in the Student Center. This is a chance for attendees to meet the author and have copies of her book signed. Free copies of First They Killed My Father will be provided to the first 25 attendees; others may bring their copies of any of Ung’s books.

The Cohen Center has evolved since its opening in 1983. Notably, it was renamed the Cohen Center for Holocaust Studies in 2001 after a major gift from Rick and Jan Cohen to honor Rick’s parents, Lester and Norma. It later expanded its name and mission to include genocide studies, and in 2019 a new building to house the Center as well as the Department of Holocaust and Genocide Studies – the academic program – was dedicated.

Countering the ongoing realities of hatred, dehumanization, and violence remains the Center’s core mission.

Fundraising to support internship opportunities for undergraduate students and graduate fellows, as well as a study tour program to bring community members to domestic and international locations, is ongoing, DeConinck said.

To learn more visit or email

Sponsorships for the 40th anniversary series are also still being accepted at:

Related Stories

Contact Keene State College

229 Main Street
Keene, New Hampshire 03435