Founder of Project Respectism
1996 Global Fellow
Tou Ger Xiong (TOO-JUR-SHONG) was born in Laos in 1973. Since Xiong’s father served with the CIA, his family had to flee Laos after the communist takeover in 1975. Xiong’s family escaped across the border and sought refuge in a Thai refugee camp. After four years in the camp, Xiong’s family immigrated to the United States as refugees of war. Xiong’s life in America began in the public housing projects of St. Paul. In 1992, Xiong graduated valedictorian from Humboldt High School, and went on to receive a degree in political science from Carleton College in Northfield, Minn. In 1996, Xiong created Project Respectism, an educational service project that uses comedy, storytelling and rap music to bridge cultures and generations. Since then, Project Respectism has evolved into a program that provides cultural entertainment and education for people of all professions and backgrounds. Xiong has taken his message about respect to 44 states in the past 12 years.