World Food Prize Ambassador Quinn
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THE ARCHIVE OF AMBASSADOR KENNETH M. QUINN
FROM THE MISSISSIPPI TO THE MEKONG
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A Trip to China and Thailand with a Linkage to the Cambodian Genocide

18/10/79

Two weeks after the visit of Pope John Paul II, Amb. Quinn traveled with Governor Robert Ray and several other American governors to China as part of an exchange following the establishment of diplomatic relations between the two countries. In Beijing, the delegation had a meeting with Paramount Leader Deng Xiaoping. Amb. Quinn had the remarkable opportunity to ask the leader of China about Cambodia, where Amb. Quinn had served as a young diplomat. He was surprised by Deng Xiaoping’s virulent condemnation of the Khmer Rouge. Following that visit, the delegation of governors traveled to Thailand where they were scheduled to visit established refugee camps. Instead, they were rushed to the border with Cambodia where they came face to face with 30,000 starving Cambodian genocide victims. The photos that Governor Ray would bring back of that encounter would lead to one of the most remarkable stories in Iowa’s humanitarian history. 

© 2020 World Food Prize Ambassador Quinn. All rights reserved.