April 3, 2007

Rockefeller Chapel to sponsor Laos trip

Rockefeller Chapel announced plans on Saturday to sponsor a student, faculty, and staff trip to Laos this summer from June 13—22. Aiming to study Laos’s political systems, history, religion, and involvement in the Vietnam War, the group will travel throughout the country to explore historical sites and meet with grassroots organizations, according to Associate Dean of Rockefeller Chapel Laura Hollinger. A guide and translator from Global Exchange, an international nonprofit human rights organization, will accompany the group.

Rockefeller Chapel sponsors projects like this on a yearly basis; previous destinations have included South Africa and Cuba. Hollinger, who is organizing the trip for the first time this year, said she chose Laos because a previous trip to the country showed that it “hasn’t been touched as much by development and is little known to people.”

She added that the country has a “hidden history” because few Americans are aware of the large part it played in the Vietnam War.

During their stay in the largely Buddhist country, participants will visit Buddhist temples and may participate in an optional meditation session. According to Hollinger, Rockefeller Chapel “supports all religious groups on campus and is interested in interface dialogue with different religions.”

Applications for the trip are due Monday, April 9, and include questions about applicants’ backgrounds in human rights, religion, and social change.