About Us

“One stick cannot cook a meal or build a fence?”

This is the essence of Hmong wisdom.

Established in 2004, the Center for Hmong Studies is a Concordia University-affiliated institution.  The Center exists to promote the scholarly interest, the rich legacy and the complex heritage of the Hmong people.

The Hmong are in a unique position to articulate the ideas and practices of a shifting modern world.  Dispersed across the globe, without the advantage of a written script for much of their history, the Hmong are a powerful byproduct of global interactions and international relations.  Bonded by a foundation of the oral, a tradition embedded in legends and memory, the Hmong are an example of a global community that has survived despite the influences of dominant cultures and perspectives, the powers of market economies and the strident pulls of politics.

The Center for Hmong Studies is an academic resource center that is unique in its service and commitments. The Center exists to track, document, research, develop and teach the long history, the current conditions, and the future trajectory of an international community in the midst of transition.  Funded by both public and private dollars, the Center for Hmong Studies is excited to meet the needs of a diverse population in the pursuit of delivering the most accurate information on the Hmong.

The Center for Hmong Studies is here to advance a comprehensive and holistic understanding of the Hmong people and the important role they have played in the shaping of the modern world.  We are here to instigate the field of Hmong Study by unifying the ideas, the experiences and the wisdom of the Hmong.

Since its founding, over 20,000 students, scholars and community members have visited the Center.

Who We Are

We are independent scholars, researchers, students, and community members affiliated with Concordia University and other institutions that are interested in developing a strong understanding of the Hmong people.

Our vision is to create a high academic program of interdisciplinary study on the fundamentals of the Hmong identity, the places and the people who have made us what we are today as a vibrant community of diverse perspectives

In line with the mission of Concordia University, the Center for Hmong Studies believes in preparing students for thoughtful and informed living with dedicated service to God and Humanity.  Over the years, Concordia University has played an important role in the welcoming of the Hmong community to higher education.  The Center for Hmong Studies will work to make Concordia University the University of Choice for Hmong and non-Hmong students and scholars interested in the field of Hmong Study.

  • Through our teaching, we will make accessible Hmong history, culture, language, and people.
  • We will find the foremost scholars to lecture and teach the courses.
  • The Center will work with other universities to find the best resources to enable effective and stimulating dialogue and thought on the crucial components of Hmong in the world.

Our objective is to take Hmong to the world and invite the world to Concordia University, Saint Paul.

Beyond a minor degree in Hmong Studies, the Center offers an international conference every other year on topics that are beneficial and important to the Hmong, the ideas and philosophies, the current conditions and imminent challenges that question and answer who we are as a people, where we will be as integrated identities.  We will initiate scholarly research on topics that have not been studied, that need to be studied more in depth, and whose conclusions will shed light on necessary information that will strengthen the core of an academic and societal understanding of Hmong.  Through research and publication, teaching and curriculum, conference and convening, the Center for Hmong Studies has become a home for Hmong-related scholarship.


Student exploring Hmong textiles during our Hmong History through Textile exhibition.

What have we done to date?

Since the establishment of the Center in 2004, it has accomplished the following:

  1. Have accumulated over 2,000 books, academic papers, over one million archival documents,  artifacts and audio/video items related to the Hmong people worldwide.
  2. Organized and hosted seven International Conferences on Hmong Studies, which drew more than 200 presenters/scholars and over 3,000 participants from throughout the world.
  3. Provided more than ten lectures and eight film discussions relating to Hmong life; attracting combined audience members exceeding over 3,000.
  4. Hosted Dr. Gary Yia Lee, a former faculty member from the University of Sydney, Australia as the Centers’ first Scholar in Residence and Professor Long Yuxiao of Guizhou University as a Fulbright Scholar, and Professor Huang Xiurong of Chong Qing China as a visiting scholars.
  5. Developed and Launched the first Minor in Hmong studies in 2006, and graduated over 30 Hmong Studies Minor students thus far.
  6. Facilitated the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between Concordia University and Guizhou University for Nationalities and Guizhou University in Guizhou Province, as well as Huai Hua University in Hunan,  China.
  7. Conducted five academic tours to China, Laos, and Thailand for staff, student, faculty and community members since 2006.
  8. Published selected papers from the First International Conference in Hmong Studies entitled, The Impact of Globalization and Trans-nationalism on the Hmong.  
  9. Received over 20,000 guests/visitors from throughout the world.

The US CIA operative, Colonel Bill Lair, visiting the Center for Hmong Studies and interacting with the World Series of Poker Champion, Jerry Yang, and Hmong filmmaker Kao Chang.