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History & Background

The Refugee Odyssey(RO) simulation in definition is an imitation of the Southeast Asian refugee journey across the Mekong River during the Secret War in Laos that impact the surrounding countries. Running alongside the Vietnam war, the conflict in Laos, which lasted from 1953 to 1975, was nominally a civil war fought between communist forces backed by North Vietnam and Laotian government troops.Today, Minnesota is Home to many refugees. High numbers of Southeast Asian refugees make up a great part the community at Augsburg and Pan Asian Student Services.

The first simulation began in Fall of 2008. It took place at the annual Fall Leadership Retreat (FLR). The FLR is a large retreat that majority of the multicultural student organizations lead and facilitate, along with the advisors. The groups whose members typically attend are: Augsburg Asian Student Association (AASA), Augsburg Latin American Students (ALAS), International Student Organization (ISO), and the Pan-Afrikan Student Union (PASU). The RO has since continued to be a legacy event that takes place on Saturday evening.

The strength of this event is mix with partnership with Pan Asian Student Services, Augsburg Asian Student Association and Alumni who return to create impact on current students.

Testimonials from past participants:

“It was very scary but I put myself in the shoes of my dad who fought against the jungles of night and terror to reach freedom for his family”

“I continue to come back to volunteer because I know the importance of impact for all students…”