The United Cambodian Community (UCC) Board of Directors appointed Susana Sngiem as its new executive director, the organization announced yesterday.
The board chose Sngiem after working at UCC as a program director for two years and serving most recently as the interim executive director.
“Susana has done an outstanding job during her stint as the interim executive director,” said UCC Board Chairman Weston LaBar in a statement. “Following a nationwide search for the permanent executive director, Susana again proved to be the right person to lead UCC,” Weston said, calling her a “true asset” to the Long Beach Cambodian community.
According to a release issued Wednesday, Sngiem is the first second-generation Cambodian-American to be appointed executive director at the UCC. Her family immigrated to Long Beach from Cambodia in the early 1980s after surviving the atrocities of Pol Pot’s Khmer Rouge regime, from 1975 to 1979.
Sngiem was born and raised in Long Beach and received a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology from the University of California-Irvine, followed by a Master’s in Social Work from the University of Southern California. In 2013, former Assemblymember Bonnie Lowenthal listed Sngiem as one of “30 under 30” women who have made a difference, the release said.
Her appointment is of significance this year, according to the release, as 2015 marks the 40th anniversary of the Khmer Rouge’s emergence as the leaders of Cambodia.
“The 40-years commemoration….marks the rise of a new era for the Cambodian community,” said Sngiem in a statement. “An era in which the first and second generation of Cambodians come together for the prosperity and health of our community.”
In her statement, Sngiem expressed a desire to “create a new Cambodian history for the next 40 years, for the next generation of Cambodians.”
The release said her future focus would be on integrating stronger engagement with second-generation Cambodian-Americans to invest in the Cambodian community.
The UCC is currently accepting applications for board members. To apply for a position, click here.
Above left: Susana Sngiem, courtesy of the Khmerican Facebook page.