May 3, 2013 -- UCLA School of Law student Kuong Ly ’15 has been awarded a 2013 Paul & Daisy Soros Fellowship for New Americans. A member of the law school’s David J. Epstein Program in Public Interest Law and Policy and Critical Race Studies Program, he is one of 30 students, chosen from more than 1,000 applicants, to receive the prestigious fellowship this year.
The fellowships are awarded annually to the most accomplished and promising immigrants and children of immigrants. Selection criteria focus on accomplishments that show creativity, originality and initiative in light of the challenges and opportunities that have been part of the applicant’s immigration story. Recipients receive tuition and stipend assistance of up to $90,000 to fund their graduate education at American institutions.
Kuong was born in a refugee camp in Vietnam to parents who had fled the Cambodian killing fields. They were granted political asylum and relocated to the greater Boston area in 1990. He focused his energy on succeeding in school while working to support his family.
Kuong enrolled in Boston College, where he won a Truman Scholarship, was selected to the All-USA College Academic First Team and graduated with a B.A. degree in Philosophy. He worked as an Arthur Helton Fellow in the International Co-Prosecutor’s Office at the U.N.-backed Khmer Rouge Tribunals. He published an op-ed piece in the International Herald Tribune in 2010 urging the court to stiffen the sentence of a senior Khmer Rouge leader, an action that it subsequently took. Winning a British Marshall Scholarship, Kuong earned master’s degrees from the University of Essex, in international human rights law, and the University of Cambridge, in international relations).
This summer, Kuong will work in the enforcement unit of the Massachusetts Commission Against Discrimination (MCAD), where he will conduct investigations into workplace discrimination and public accommodation claims.