Our vision is for the Khmer people to be proud of their identity no matter where they are in the world
We PROTECT, PRESERVE, and PROMOTE the legacy of the Cambodian people and their children in the United States and Abroad.
The International Khmer Assembly, Inc was established in March 2012 as a project to advocate for the recognition of the Khmer and SE Asian Veterans for their role in defending American armed forces in the "secret war" of SE Asia, and evolved to become a fellowship destination for American civics education and advocacy for the genocide survivors of Cambodia and SE Asian community.
After a passage of MN State Senate Resolution 2314 and United States Senate Resolution S. Res 462 in July 2014, newly-elected Chairman Mr. Kosol Sek ( 2014-2016 ) recognized that services offered to Khmer Americans were too limited to fellowship and U.S. citizenship. A new approach was needed to advance and connect the community to mainstream America.
In 2016, Kosol Sek, Chairman and Transitional Director of the organization spearheaded a new initiative to expand the scope of the organization to include the collection of absent narratives, films, original music, artifacts, and other intellectual properties that were lost, missing, damaged, and stolen during the genocide of the 1970s.
However, the Cambodian community as a whole had been under-developed and under-represented for most of the previous 40 years due to population size. A systemic effect of the genocide of the intelligentsia in the 1970s had created a fear and scarcity in promoting identity, voice, and pride of the people. To bridge this gap, the organization transformed and rebranded its public name to IKARE to communicate that for effective change to take place, the community cannot wait for others to start, it must start with them. IKARE became the organization's public name and organizational culture in 2016, whereby the letter "K" stands for KHMER.
On the weekend of June 23, 2016, the National Khmer Legacy Museum ( the “first and only” ) Cambodian museum was launched with the purpose of protecting, preserving, and promoting items, stories, arts, history, and other Khmer intellectual properties that have been lost, stolen, damaged, or forgotten.
The organization's mission is to advance by empowering the voice, identity, and culture of the Khmer and SE Asian community and their children on the importance and contribution of the People as part of a diverse multi-ethnic America.
Our goals and mission will be accomplished via:
- Educating the community and their children ( online, in person, social media and self-study courses ) on the importance of the Khmer people, culture, and contribution to the world;
- Utilizing arts and “exciting” entertainment to educate about the 3000 years of heritage;
- Allowing the public to sample 3000 years of Cambodian arts and history without traveling to Cambodia;
- Restoring and reviving lost Khmer arts, stories, history, and artifacts in a fun and exciting way; and,
- Promoting and encouraging cultural exchanges between Khmer in Cambodia and Khmer in America with the general American public.
Ultimately, we hope to inspire the community to feel proud and to have ownership in a new homeland and to extend the Khmer “voice” as a part of American society.
The beneficiaries of the IKARE work include the Khmer people in and outside Cambodia; the world community, and the general public. We are forever indebted to the kind support from the Hubbard Broadcasting Foundation ( Thank you Kari and Mr. Hubbard ) and a one-time Holiday grant in 2016 from St. Jude Medical Foundation ( Thank you Chamnap for caring to help ), and the many volunteers who gave their time, money, and commitment to help continue the vision of this organization.
Recently, the IKARE organization was approved for membership in the Alliance of Nonprofits for Insurance, making us one of 16,000 nonprofits in 32 states and DC working together to reduce cost of insurance for all non-profit organization members.
We are proud of our achievement because of “Karing” hearts like yours!
Kosol Sek ( Managing Director)
Kosol brings over 20 years experience providing strategic direction to local and multi-national organizations in business, product innovation, and developing strategic branding and marketing communications. Some of his accomplishments include developing and receiving 7 United States Patent and Trademark business processes and 3 United States Copyright business processes. He's founded, operated and sold intellectual property to a Fortune 100 company.
He has a lifelong experience as student, trainer, and executive in leadership, communication, and scientific problem solving to transform the IKARE into a world-class organization.
Kosol joined the IKARE because he wants to see the Khmer people and community advance to a level of excellence. He understands the challenges ahead and willingly accepts the journey to bring the best of the Khmer people and culture to the world. "The Khmer people came close to extinction in December 1979, I'm going to do my part to make sure this great culture and people continue," is Kosol's motto.
Stephen Young ( Board Advisor )
Stephen Young is the Global Executive Director of the Caux Round Table. He was formerly the third dean of the Hamline University School of Law, an assistant dean of Harvard Law School, and has worked with the Council on Foreign Relations and consulted to the United States Department of State.
Steve and his Father have been involved in helping the Khmer community since his father was present at the Declaration of Independence of Cambodia from France in 1953.
Ream Um ( Chairman of the Board)
Ream serves as Chairman of the Board and comes to the organization with a wealth of experience in education and multi-decade leadership with the United Cambodian Association of Minnesota and other Cambodian refugee non profit organizations. In 1965, he received a Bachelor’s Degree in Civil Engineering and from there went on to help build and maintain some of the infrastructure you see in Cambodia like airports and roads. He arrived in America as a refugee 1981 and served as a teacher for the St. Paul school district teaching math and science. In 2011, he joined IKARE and began to advance the organization's vision and mission because he believes it is a platform to educate the future generation of Khmer children along with others on the importance of Khmer culture, heritage, and identity.
Greg Barron ( Board Advisor )
Greg Barron is an American radio and television journalist, producer and communications executive. His early radio feature work influenced public radio storytelling in the United States and how sound is used in documentary production. Described by Variety Magazine in 1981 as "one of the most renowned creators of radio documentaries in the nation", his work as a producer for Minnesota Public Radio between 1972 and 1980 was recognized by numerous regional and national journalism awards and he was an early advocate of the use of high fidelity stereophonic sound as an integral element of radio journalism.
In 1981, Barron began a career in marketing communications working first with Hill and Knowlton public relations as a media relations executive, followed by a brief tenure as a documentary producer for The Moore Report, an award-winning documentary unit at the CBS owned-and-operated in Minneapolis. In 1983, he founded G.R. Barron and Company, a Twin Cities, Minnesota-based public relations and marketing communications agency. In 1998, he left the agency business to continue his career as communications executive in the corporate world.
Thal Ngin (IKARE Secretary)
Thal serves as the IKARE Board Secretary. Thal joined the IKARE organization because she wanted to make a difference and become part of a system that protects, preserves, and promotes next generation role models. Thal wants to see the Khmer community unite so that future generations, like her grandchildren, can carry on the Khmer identity. She believes through IKARE vision and mission, the Khmer identity will stay alive.
Thal is also a Khmer language specialist. Her experience includes teaching children the Khmer language, dances, and childhood discipline.
Chamnap Nay (Treasurer)
Chamnap serves as the Treasurer of Board for the IKARE organization. She brings to the organization over 15 years of experience in various different areas. In 2002, she earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration and has since completed multiple graduate study courses in Resource Development and Fundraising, Inter-Cultural Communications, Culture and Development, Transformational Development and Servant Leadership and Management. She also brings with her experience in Marketing, Training, , and Communication from St. Jude Medical, Thai Samsung Electronics, Chevron Ltd (Cambodia), and World Vision. Champnap spends her time championing for the Khmer Community through IKARE because she feels that the mission and vision of our organization will help bring the Khmer community to a better place.