Coming! August 15, 2021


Honoring 30 Years of Service

“The Dr. YSiu Hlong Emergency Fund” will officially kick off with festive ceremonies, a very important announcement and special guest speakers from 2 – 3 PM on Sunday, August 15, 2021 at Barber Park, Shelter # 1. Come early to meet and talk and stay after the ceremonies for food and fun. Barber Park is located at 1500 Barber Park Dr, Greensboro, NC 27401.

YSiu Hlong, the longtime executive director of the Montagnard Dega Association (MDA), will retire this month after more than three decades of service which MDA will mark with a special fundraising campaign, “The Dr. YSiu Hlong Emergency Fund'' to honor his service, dedication and desire to see the refugee community prosper. While today he is a well known figure among local and state refugee organizations, he was also among the first two hundred Montagnards from Vietnam’s Central Highlands to arrive in Greensboro’s airport in 1986. The Montagnards, who retain their French name meaning “highlanders'', are indigenous peoples who fought alongside U.S. Special Forces during the Vietnam War. Greensboro, NC and Guilford County represent one of the largest communities of Montagnard refugees outside of Southeast Asia.


“Dr Hlong — we call him ‘Uncle’ —  has been a steady presence in our community who has helped so many families facing desperate situations when they come here,” said new executive director Liana Adrong. “Over the years he’s answered so many emergency calls, trips to the ER, car accident sites, and other 2 AM cries for help that we thought the best way to honor his legacy is to recognize his work. That’s why we want to start an emergency fund that would add a crisis intervention person to our staff and provide resources to vulnerable community members, elders, women, and others who don’t qualify for available services and need help right away.”


In Greensboro and Asheboro where he now resides, Dr. Hlong found personal opportunities to grow and succeed. In 2019 he earned his PhD from John Wesley University. But in his youth he never dreamed life would bring him to the United States. Vietnam was at war and when it ended many were forced to flee. As refugees in America, the first arrivals like Dr. Hlong struggled and worked hard to both adapt and together preserve memories of home and loved ones left behind. Community service for Dr. Hlong came in the form of assisting new arrivals, helping to reunite families, and responding daily to help the vulnerable, sick and needy. These included elders trying to survive without relatives nearby, children who needed to be enrolled in school, and parents who applied for citizenship or their first American jobs. His dedication and commitment to creating a community from many tribes and language groups, preserving their traditions and celebrating achievements, and advocating for stronger ties to their new homeland have been rewarded with a second generation of young adults eager to carry on his mission. 

June 3, 2021

2021 Symposium was a first-time event presented by the Montagnard / Asian Community Disparities Research Network and featured a number of programs, themes and speakers.  Watch the recordings. (more)

January – June, 2021

The Past Is Present: New Montagnard Artists was a 6-month project to promote cultural continuity and builds strong relations between elder and young artists, introduces a writers' workshop, and expands MDA and MAO's reputation as more than a service provider. This project is made possible by funding provided from Creative Greensboro, the office of arts and culture of the City of Greensboro, through a Catalyzing Creativity Grant.



H'Rina DeTroy, Apocalypse Never: Writing Our Origin Stories and Imaginative Futures as Montagnard Americans. Original date: February 26, 2021; watch the video

Through Indigenous Eyes: Painted Reflections of the Montagnard Refugee Experience. Featuring studio artist Sachi Dely. Original date: March 10, 2021; watch the video

Montagnard Baroque: The Montagnard Story Reimagined. Featuring studio artist Ysue Bujiang. Original date: March 19, 2021; watch the video

Writing Our Legacies, Montagnard Storytellers and Authors over Generations. Hosted by H'Rina DeTroy with Anna Ksor Buonya, Y-Danair Niehrah, and Y-Luin Niehrah. Original date: April 9, 2021; watch the video 

Voices of the Highlands, with Phun H, Abi Mlo, and Ly Nuin, co-founders of Voices of the Highlands, a digital storytelling platform by and for Montagnard/Indigenous folks. Original date: May 21, 2021; watch the video

Bilingual Children’s Storytime! Plus, Writing the Montagnard-American Experience, with author H’Abigail Mlo and translator Ha Tong about  writing a Montagnard children’s book (writing and translation process). Original date: June 1, 2021; watch the video

A Historical. Artistic and Technical Appreciation of Montagnard Backstrap Weaving with Betsy Renfrew. Original date: June 2, 2021; watch the video 

Artist’s Talk with Gelly Long, dancer and visual artist. Original date: June 3, 2021; watch the video

Taste of the Highlands: The Montagnard American Kitchen with Ha Tong and friends. Originally scheduled for June 4, 2021.

Montagnard American Organization: Celebrating Art, History and Community with Montagnard artists and community, including elders honored at the final ceremony. Recorded live on June 5, 2021, at CAN-NC Campus, Greensboro, NC.