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Guide to the Project Ngoc Records MS.SEA.016
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Collection Details
Table of contents What's This?
  • Access
  • Publication Rights
  • Preferred Citation
  • Acquisition Information
  • Processing Information
  • Organizational History
  • Chronology
  • Scope and Content of Collection
  • Arrangement
  • Related Material

  • Title: Project Ngoc records
    Identifier/Call Number: MS.SEA.016
    Contributing Institution: Special Collections and Archives, University of California, Irvine Libraries
    Language of Material: English
    Physical Description: 8.0 Linear feet (11 boxes and 9 oversize folders) and 148 digitized images
    Date (inclusive): 1978-1998
    Abstract: This collection contains materials relating to the activities of Project Ngoc (1987-1997), a non-profit humanitarian group consisting mainly of college students. Materials from Project Ngoc include correspondence, records of meetings and activities, and photographs and slides documenting travel to refugee camps and statewide activities. Materials from various organizations involved with refugee issues include correspondence, bills, and other printed ephemera. The collection also contains artwork done by refugee artists in the Hong Kong camps.
    Physical location: University of California, Irvine. Library. Southeast Asian Archive. Irvine, California 92623-9557.
    Creator: Project Ngoc.


    Collection open for research. Access to petitions for alien relatives and affidavits of relationship is restricted for 50 years from the latest date of the materials in the file. Restrictions are noted at the file level.

    Publication Rights

    Property rights reside with the University of California. Literary rights are retained by the creators of the records and their heirs. For permissions to reproduce or to publish, please contact the Head of Special Collections and University Archives.

    Preferred Citation

    Project Ngoc records. MS-SEA016. Special Collections and Archives, The UC Irvine Libraries, Irvine, California. Date accessed.
    For the benefit of current and future researchers, please cite any additional information about sources consulted in this collection, including permanent URLs, item or folder descriptions, and box/folder locations.

    Acquisition Information

    Gift of Project Ngoc, 1995-2002.

    Processing Information

    Processed by Julia Stringfellow, 2003. Translation services provided by Quan Tran, 2003. Processing was supported by a Library Services and Technology Act (LSTA) grant from the California State Library. Additional processing of Project Ngoc organizational files by Audra Eagle Yun, 2012.

    Organizational History

    Project Ngoc (PN), a non-profit humanitarian organization comprised mainly of college students, strove to publicize and gather support for Southeast Asian refugees. Originally initiated as a class at UCI by graduate student Tom Wilson, PN was an attempt to increase the awareness of the students concerning the Vietnamese refugee crisis. Students in the class then decided to help alleviate the tragedies of the refugees by taking the Project beyond the limitations of the classroom and forming an organization in the hopes of realizing more concrete projects to assist the refugees.
    As a means of raising awareness of the struggles of the Vietnamese refugees in the camps of Southeast Asia, the organization adopted three main goals through its evolution. They include: raising awareness on campus and within the community, advocating for humanitarian rights, and sending funds to camps for the development of educational programs. During its ten years of activity from 1987-1997, PN achieved these goals by providing direct relief through fundraising and sending volunteers to refugee camps in Hong Kong.
    The first major accomplishment of the organization was a 1987 Christmas visit to the refugee camps in Hong Kong. The four volunteers who went took Christmas gifts and financial donations to the people in camp, which provided an opportunity to show their concern for the refugees. The problems that the volunteers witnessed enhanced their commitment to increasing public awareness of the refugees' desperate conditions. Following the trip, PN published a report focusing on camp conditions and refugee policies. The report was sent to every member of the U.S. Congress and to selected members of the press to induce more support for the refugees. The group also actively organized photo exhibitions, press conferences, speaking engagements, and fund raising events. Volunteers were also sent to closed camps in Hong Kong, where they spent the summer of 1988 helping to equip refugees with the knowledge and skills necessary for successful future resettlement.
    With the decision of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees to close the camps and repatriate the refugees to their homeland, the organization's cabinet for 1996-1997 decided to concentrate PN's effort on raising awareness. The main goal was to raise money through personal contributions and various fundraising events. The funds were then contributed toward the development of an educational program for the refugee children.
    Project Ngoc disbanded at the end of the 1996-1997 academic year as a result of the resettlement or repatriation of most Vietnamese refugees. "A Decade of Dedications" was the theme for Project Ngoc's gala farewell event, which took place April 13, 1997. Past officers and members of PN were present, including founder Tom Wilson, as well as many people from the Vietnamese community. All proceeds from the evening went to help the remaining refugees in Hong Kong.


    1987 Project Ngoc established at UC Irvine.
    1987 Sent a delegation of four members to investigate conditions in refugee camps in Southeast Asia. Copies of the resulting report were sent to each member of Congress.
    1988 Sent a member to Thailand to teach English and mathematics at Banthad and Site II refugee camps.
    1988 Hosted a concert for refugees. Participants included state senators, assemblymen, and major leaders in the American and Vietnamese communities.
    1988 Sent a delegation of four volunteers to work as teachers and translators in Hong Kong refugee camps and detention centers. They created libraries and educational curricula, and organized recreational activities and festival celebrations.
    1989 Sent one member to Canada to work with the Canadian Vietnamese community to gain support for a private initiative sponsorship program. Those who entered Canada under this program were not counted under the immigration quota.
    1989 Hosted an Indochinese conference with the Council for Refugee Rights in Westminster, CA, in response to the drafting of the Comprehensive Plan of Action (CPA) in Malaysia. The conference resulted in the printing of several refugee-related brochures, copies of which were distributed to participants at an international conference in Geneva, Switzerland, in June.
    1989 Sent a delegation to the International Conference on Indochinese Refugees in Geneva. Three members fasted for three days with the European Vietnamese community in front of the United Nations building while three other members attended the conference and lobbied for refugee rights.
    1989 Organized a candlelight vigil in Westminster, CA, during the Geneva conference to protest against forced repatriation.
    1989 Sent a second team of volunteers to Argyle, Whitehead, and Hei Ling Chau Detention Centers in Hong Kong to work as teachers, counselors, educational coordinators, and recreational leaders.
    1989 Sent one member to work with Refugee International and the Vietnamese community in the Washington D.C. metropolitan area to lobby for refugee rights.
    1989 Sent four members to Washington D.C. to lobby against forced repatriation and to participate in the Sixth Annual Asian-American Leadership Conference.
    1989 Sent one member on a trip to Hong Kong, Malaysia, and Thailand to investigate the push back policy of first asylum countries. The Malaysian government admitted to denying first asylum Vietnamese boat people by redirecting boats to Australia.
    1990 Hosted a fundraising dinner to set up a school in camp Palawan, Philippines.
    1990 Sent two volunteers to Hong Kong to work with ISS and Save the Children Organization and one volunteer to the Philippines to work in detention centers as a teacher, counselor, and translator. Three members were sent to Washington D.C. to intern with IRAC, Refugee International, and U.S. Commission on Refugees.
    1990 Hosted a banquet and raised $9,000 for the unaccompanied minors and the children in the detention centers throughout Southeast Asia during the Mid Autumn festival.
    1991 Exhibited "The Boat People: A Cry for Freedom" art exhibition in the UCI Student Center. Raised $500 in donations and postcard sales for Project Ngoc's Summer Program.
    1991 Received the 1991 Saturn Award and $1,000 for organizing "The Boat People: A Cry for Freedom" art exhibition at UCI.
    1991 Sent two volunteers to work with ISS in Hong Kong and an intern to Washington D.C. to work with Boat People S.O.S. and Refugee International.
    1991 Organized an art exhibition of refugees' artworks at Century art gallery in Westminster to echo the plight of the asylum seekers.
    1991 Exhibited refugees' artworks from "The Boat People: A Cry for Freedom" collection at UCI.
    1991 Sponsored a 10k Walk-a-Thon for Boat People's Rights in Fountain Valley that generated $22,000, which was donated to the LAVAS group currently in the Philippines..
    1992 Received the 1992 Saturn Award for organizing the 10k Walk-a-Thon for Boat People's Rights.
    1992 Coordinated "The Boat People: A Cry for Freedom" Symposium held in the UCI Student Center.
    1994 Organized Van Nghe Thuyen Nhan.
    1994 Sent volunteers to camps in Hong Kong.
    1994 Helped LAVAS to organize the 10k Walk-a-Thon.
    1994 Organized a fundraising dance.
    1995 Organized Van Nghe Thuyen Nhan 95.
    1996 Helped LAVAS organize the 10k Walk-a-Thon.
    1996 Distributed petition letters to Congress and President Clinton.
    1996 Organized "Refugee Awareness Month" on UCI campus.
    1997 Project Ngoc disbands.

    Scope and Content of Collection

    This collection contains materials relating to the activities of Project Ngoc (1987-1997), a non-profit humanitarian group consisting mainly of college students. Materials from Project Ngoc include correspondence, records of meetings and activities, and photographs and slides documenting travel to refugee camps and statewide activities. Materials from various organizations involved with refugee issues include correspondence, bills, and other printed ephemera. The collection also contains artwork done by refugee artists in the Hong Kong camps.


    This collection is arranged in five series.
    • Series 1. Subject files concerning refugee issues, 1978-1997. 2.4 linear ft.
    • Series 2. Project Ngoc organizational files, 1987-1997. .4 linear ft.
    • Series 3. Visual and audiovisual materials, 1985-1997. 1.4 linear ft.
    • Series 4. Artwork, 1987-1997. 2.4 linear ft.
    • Series 5. Newspaper clippings, 1980-1998. 1 linear ft.

    Related Material

    The following collections in the Southeast Asian Archive contain related materials:
    Gayle Morrison Files on Southeast Asian Refugees. MS-SEA014. Special Collections and Archives. Thomas Joel Wilson Papers. MS-SEA023. Special Collections and Archives. Paul Tran Files on Southeast Asian Refugees. Special Collections and Archives. SEA Archive's newspaper clippings file.

    Subjects and Indexing Terms

    Online Archive of California.
    Project Ngoc -- Archives..
    Clippings -- 20th century.
    Interviews -- 20th century.
    Letters -- 20th century.
    Photographic prints -- 20th century.
    Refugee camps -- Hong Kong -- History -- Sources
    Refugee camps -- Southeast Asia -- History -- Sources
    Refugees -- Southeast Asia -- Archives.
    Refugees -- Vietnam -- Archives
    Slides -- 20th century.
    Sound recordings -- 20th century
    Video recordings -- 20th century.
    Works of art -- 20th century.